Two reports in today’s newspaper point to the growing recognition and faith being placed by the Indian Judiciary in the process of Mediation to resolve civil and commercial disputes.

The first report is from today’s Times of India

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy asked Paes and Pillai, who were present in the court, to make a fresh attempt to reach a mutually acceptable solution through negotiations. It had earlier directed the couple to go to the SC mediation centre to settle their dispute but the mediation proceedings, which went on for six days, failed and the matter was again referred to the court for adjudication.

 

“There is no dispute which cannot be resolved through talks. Make a fresh attempt to come to a mutually acceptable settlement. These matters should better be settled through negotiations. The parties have to be reasonable in their demands and they should follow give and take policy to amicable resolve the dispute,“ the bench said.

This brings up an important and key point. A Mediator only facilitates and is not an arbitrator or judge to pass judgment or give solutions. It is eventually the parties responsibility to arrive at a solution that they feel is right for them. The Mediators helps break the impasse, but there are cases, where one or both parties take a stand are unwilling to give an inch. The bench’s advice in this context is very wise.
 
The other case in the news in the startup world is the imprisonment of Stayzilla Founder and CEO for failing to pay up their vendor.

Can’t the case involving online homestay aggregator Stayzilla be decided by mediation, asked Madras high court on Monday .

 

When the bail application of Yogendra Vasupal, CEO of Stayzilla, came up for hearing before Justice S Bhaskaran, the latter made a passing reference about the charge of breach of trust mentioned in the FIR and asked since it being breach of trust arising out of business transaction, could it not be resolved by mediation.

In my view based on what I have read about the case, the Stayzilla case was a natural fit for arbitration.
 
The way to move forward in a country like ours is to adopt Mediation and Arbitration as the first port on the call of Justice. Going to courts should be the last option.