Court: mediation best option to resolve family disputes

Lawyers, litigants should follow Gandhiji's advice, says Bench

January 15, 2011 01:53 am | Updated 01:53 am IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday suggested mediation as the best method or option for resolving long-pending family or business disputes.

A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, in an order on a dispute involving two brothers, said: “lawyers should advise their clients to try for mediation to resolve disputes, especially where relationships like family and business relationships are involved. Otherwise, litigation drags on for years and decades often ruining both the parties.”

Gandhi’s advice

The Bench quoted a passage from Mahatma Gandhi's book My Experiments with Truth, which said: “I saw that the facts of Dada Abdulla's case made it a very strong indeed, and that the law was bound to be on his side. But I also saw that the litigation, if it were persisted in, would ruin the plaintiff and the defendant, who were relatives and both belonged to the same city. No one knew how long the case might go on. Should it be allowed to continue to be fought out in court, it might go on indefinitely and to no advantage of either party. Both, therefore, desired an immediate termination of the case, if possible.”

The Bench said, “Hence, the lawyers as well as litigants should follow Mahatma Gandhi's advice in the matter and try for arbitration/mediation. This is also the purpose of Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure.”

In the instant case between B.S. Krishnamurthy and B.S. Nagaraj, the Bench said “this is a dispute between brothers. In our opinion, an effort should be made to resolve the dispute between the parties by mediation.” The court referred the matter to the Bangalore Mediation Centre. The Bench directed the parties to appear before it on February 21. It directed the matter to be listed for further hearing after receiving a report from the centre.

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