President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that the concept of mediation has yet to gain wide acceptance and that bottlenecks such as lack of domain experts and proper infrastructure must be addressed as a priority to help a wider population to benefit from the mediation tool. All stakeholders must display a positive attitude towards the subject in order to achieve the desired results, Kovind said.
He was speaking at the inaugural event of the two-day National Judicial Conference on Mediation and Information Technology near the Unity Statue in Kevadia on Saturday, attended by Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Chief Justice of India. NV Ramana and other dignitaries.
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The President also said that the primary objective of the transition of the justice system to information and communication technologies (ICT) should be “improving access to justice”.
In his address, Rijiju stressed the need for “teamwork” between the executive and the judiciary, while CJI Ramana called for an “active effort” by the courts to “make negotiations and mediation mandatory in framework of business management. being served, it does not matter whether it is rendered by the courts or under the aegis of the executive through mediation,” Rijiju said, adding that the mediation bill is now before the Standing Committee of the Law and Justice of Parliament for deliberations, and is taking a very good form.
Rijiju added that the government’s goal was “to make sure people don’t wait for a formal trial to get justice.” Let’s explore other ways to deliver justice quickly… I also feel that the current system will weigh more and more on us unless we reform ourselves internally”.
CJI Ramana echoed that lok adalats, gram adalats and mediation centers have the “potential to transform India’s legal landscape by providing a platform for millions of people to settle their grievances” and that “the integration of effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms into the judicial process can reduce delays and allow litigants some control over the dispute resolution process and its outcome”.
Supreme Court Justice L Nageswara Rao, who was part of one of the three sessions held on mediation, stressed the need to “reduce the pressure on the courts, and that with delays in administering the justice comes the grave danger of people losing faith in the system”.
Judge Rao also pointed to the lack of “proper training and awareness” on mediation, pointing to “reservations” among judges about the benefits of mediation, and that the “Bar does not support mediation” as lawyers fear to lose their jobs.
Judge Rao said: “Mediation is a different ball game and some people who want mediation don’t want judges there because as judges they are used to arbitration, not mediation. …training and learning on the part of judges is also necessary. The time has come when you have experts in the field as mediators.
CJI Ramana said: “Lawyers should seek out all avenues for pre-litigation and advise clients to contact lok adalats. It should not be used as a mere delaying tactic. Bailiffs who dispense justice must not bring any jurisdictional flavor to the proceedings and must understand the parties and their economic conditions with patience.
Weighing in on the importance of having qualified mediators, CJI Ramana said, “We need qualified mediators to decide on some important issues during the mediation process, especially in a situation where the settlement is entirely in favor of a particular part. Should the mediator be a silent spectator during such negotiations? Substantial quality ideals must also be reflected in resolution processes.
Referring to how legal regulations have not kept pace with technological advancements, CJI Ramana warned that he expects litigation in technology areas to only increase. “Technological developments such as cryptocurrency data protection, encryption, and artificial intelligence have caused courts and law enforcement to engage in new issues. ” he said.