This article will discuss e the legal aspects of mandatory mediation in India and why it has become a necessity in the current society. It will also discuss some of the major benefits and drawbacks of mandatory mediation.
Mandatory mediation is defined as a process where an independent mediator, who is not connected to any party of the dispute, is appointed by a court and makes formal requests to the parties to try and settle their dispute. The mandate order which usually includes conditions in case the disputes remain unresolved can be enforced by contempt proceedings against parties who do not comply with it.
With the passage of time disputes started to arise in court cases, which were not only delaying the disposal of cases but also ultimately causing injustice to parties because of this delay. As a solution for this problem, the concept of mandatory mediation was included in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) Rules. One important point that must be noticed here is that, by giving them the power to prescribe rules under section 77(8), C.P.C. encourages the courts to adopt a process of "judicialization" of legal relations, which has been criticized heavily by advocates.
The main reason behind introducing mandatory mediation is to reduce the number of litigations that take place in the court. Litigations are meant to find a solution but in many cases, they turn out to be more detrimental than helpful. Mandatory mediation helps in bringing disputes into a courtroom where parties can be openly heard, which is not possible when they are proceeding in private before the court.