1. Choked courts: Standalone law on mediation could help cut pendency

Choked courts: Standalone law on mediation could help cut pendency

With 2.81 crore cases choking the courts—which need 4,500 more judges than there are at the moment—it is surprising that settlement is a rarely chosen method for dispute resolution in India.

By: | Updated: March 21, 2017 6:05 AM
Developed jurisdictions like the US have long favoured settlement as a method of dispute resolution—though it is not as high as claimed (95% of all matters, though a Cornell study shows most torts that reach federal courts are settled outside). (PTI)

With 2.81 crore cases choking the courts—which need 4,500 more judges than there are at the moment—it is surprising that settlement is a rarely chosen method for dispute resolution in India. Therefore, Justice Dipak Misra of the Supreme Court appealing for a culture of out-of-court settlements assumes special significance. More so, when a little over 1 crore matters, both pending and pre-litigative, were disposed by the National Lok Adalat in 2016 and the Supreme Court’s Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee has been functional for some time now.Developed jurisdictions like the US have long favoured settlement as a method of dispute resolution—though it is not as high as claimed (95% of all matters, though a Cornell study shows most torts that reach federal courts are settled outside). The Daksh State of the Indian Judiciary report pegs the cost of pendency in courts at 1.5% of the GDP. If civil and petty criminal cases were to first go through a settlement mechanism, imagine what the nation, and litigants, could end up saving. The standalone law on mediation that the law ministry had proposed last year is, therefore, welcome.

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