CJI Ramana emphasises mediation as a critical step in resolving conflicts and unclogging courts

On Saturday, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana stated that the time has come for India to go into’mission mode,’ and he recommended mediation as a’mandatory first step for resolution of any issue’ for settling matters between parties.

The CJI emphasised that India and other Asian countries had a long and rich tradition of mediation, citing the Mahabharata as an example of an early attempt at mediation as a conflict resolution technique, in which Lord Krishna attempted to arbitrate the disagreement between the Pandavas and Kauravas.

The CJI was appearing as the keynote speaker at the India-Singapore Mediation Summit, entitled “Making Mediation Mainstream: Reflections from India and Singapore.” In it, he contended for the establishment of mediation as a dependable mechanism of resolving problems, which he claimed would benefit the poverty – stricken sections of society.

Perhaps an omnibus statute is required to fill the void, the CJI observed, adding that there are approximately 40,000 mediation centres in India and that 1 million cases have been settled by March 2021 in India. He stated “We must remember that the vast majority of litigants in India are from the middle and lower classes. They will be greatly relieved if mediation is established as a dependable method of redress. Needless to say, it will result in a significant reduction in the number of cases reaching normal courts. Such a scenario will improve the judicial system’s efficiency “

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