Y.S. RANA , CHANDIGARH—From a measly a 32 in 2008 to masterly 1693 up to the end of 2014. The ranks of beneficiaries of matrimonial disputes referred to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre working under the State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh continue to swell by the day. Playing the rule of a quasi-judicial adjudicator-cum-mediator, the Centre has been successful setting disputes between parties amicably and expeditiously at pre-litigation state, thereby reducing the workload of courts.
According to the official of the Centre, it was set up in MaY, 2008 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Up to December 2008, 32 cases were referred to the Centre and only five cases have been settled. In 2013, it received 1876 cases of matrimonial disputes for mediation and 613 cases were settled. The official further stated that till June this year, 926 cases have been referred to the Centre and 257 cases were settled.
While talking to Mr Lal Chand, Member Secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh said that not only this, the Centre was expanding its area of operation. In October, 2013, the Crime against Women Cell was also asked to refer the matrimonial and other disputes to the Centre for settlement. The response is quite encouraging, says he and added their efforts to bring varying parties in dispute to a point of settlement through mediation and conciliation.
He further stated that he held a number of meetings with the presiding officer of the consumer redressal commission. “Because of some practical problems it is not possible for the court to refer cases to the Authority but the court has decided to hold regular Lok Adalat once in a month,” he said. Besides, Labour and Industrial Tribunal, Chandigarh was also requested to refer cases pertaining to labour and industrial disputes to the Centre for mediation, said the official. He said that litigation not only a costly affair but also blocked all option of settlement and even the social system.
Mr Chand told that at the initial stage, 13 mediators were appointed for mediation that now it has 26 advocate mediators and six judicial officers (retired) mediators. There were 20 referral courts in 2008 the number of referral courts rose to 32 in 2015.
In April, 2013, in the chief justices conference held in New Delhi a resolution was passed that all the mediation and conciliation Centres in the states shall be manned by the State Legal Services Authorities of the respective states.
Its favourite modus operandi remains as an innovative mechanism evolved for resolving disputes of various natures in a spirit of conciliation outside courts and without delay and recrimination. The number of cases referred to and beneficiaries bear testimony to effectiveness of this tool. The Centre has been set up in 2008 with the objective of providing mediation and conciliation services free of cost to the needy of the society to secure their legal rights.
He is of the opinion that it can be a best option for settlement of various disputes but awareness about legal rights could be of more importance.