SC issues notice to Centre on plea for SOP mandating pre-litigation mediation
With a view to reduce pendency of cases in Courts across the country, the Supreme Court has sought response from the Centre on a plea that sought formulation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for mandating pre-litigation mediation across the country.
The direction was issued while the Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Youth Bar Association of India and advocate Sanpreet Singh Ajmani which suggested that alternate and pre-litigation processes be made mandatory to reduce pendency of cases in various courts.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice A S Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the Ministry of Law and Justice and various High Courts on the plea. The Bench has asked the Centre to respond in four weeks. The petition contended that Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms can be used to avoid frivolous matters that come for hearing in courts. It further stated pre-litigation mediation would give an opportunity to parties to settle their disputes amicably before any litigation can start.
The plea further contended that pre-litigation mediation is an attempt to resolve the dispute among the parties amicably with the help of neutral third party called Mediator before going to the court or even before filing litigation or sending a notice.
According to the petitioner, it will give a chance to both the parties to end the dispute in a win-win position. Further, issues can be sorted out sooner and this process is inexpensive compared to the expenditure incurred at every stage of the case/issues in litigation.
To reduce the number of pending cases, the Government should work on a mechanism to introduce a pre-litigation mediation process, so that avoidable cases can be prevented from reaching the courts and settle the issue effectively, the plea said.