A pilot project to promote and popularise mediation as an effective alternative dispute resolution mechanism has been started in Ganjam and Puri districts.
It was stated by judge of the Supreme Court Justice Madan B. Lokur, who happens to be a member of Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee (MCPC) during his visit to the city on Saturday. To mark the beginning of the pilot project a workshop on effectiveness of mediation process was organised at the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) in the city. Apart from Justice Lokur, Justice Indrajit Mohanty of Odisha High Court, member secretary of Odisha Legal Services Authority B.C.Rath, director of Odisha Judicial Academy (OJA) D.P.Choudhury attended the workshop. Lawyers trained in mediation process and judicial officers along with president of Ganjam Bar Association Kapileswar Patnaik took part in this workshop.
Later speaking to newsmen Justice Lokur said the MCPC had decided to increase awareness about mediation as a dispute resolution process among the litigants as well as to increase its effectiveness through pilot projects in selected districts of different States. In Odisha, Ganjam and Puri districts had been chosen for the purpose. The pilot project is an experiment to eradicate all practical stumbling blocks in the path of effective use of mediation as a dispute resolution mechanism and its success would get extended to mediation centres in other districts also, Justice Lokur added. It may be noted that 21 mediation centres are now working in Odisha.
The experts as well as the president of the Ganjam Bar Association accepted that lack of awareness was the major stumbling block in the path of promotion of mediation. As per Mr Patnaik most of the litigants were still not aware of benefits of the mediation as an effective tool to settle disputes.
Mediation is one of the five methods of alternative dispute resolutions.
The other mechanisms are arbitration, conciliation, Lok Adalat and judicial settlement.
Mediation is the process where a mutual third party assists disputing parties to creatively resolve disputes without going to trial. Justice Lokur said mediation method of settling disputes had to be promoted as it provides more satisfying results than litigation. It allows the parties and not the judge to determine the outcome. It saves time, money for the judiciary as well as litigants. If settlement is reached in mediation, there would be no future litigation costs as both parties accept the solution. But in case a court decision a defeated party usually approaches the higher court. Moreover, in case of settlement through mediation court fees are refunded to the parties.
According to Justice Lokur, effectiveness of mediation could be assessed from the fact that since its introduction in the country he had come across only one case where the litigants were found to be not satisfied with the result of mediation.