What options does a party have if he or she is not satisfied with the proceedings? How should the process be terminated?
The rules are silent with respect to the rights of parties if they are not satisfied with the settlement agreement. However, if a party fails to attend any of the sessions, then the mediation/conciliation shall automatically end after a period of ninety days from the date on which first session was fixed.
Can a party refuse to sign the settlement agreement after having participated in the discussions that lead up to it?
The said rules are silent on this aspect, but a refusal to sign a settlement agreement would mean that the mediation has failed.
What can you do if you think your case cannot be resolved by mediation?
Under Rule 25(b), the issues on which no settlement could be agreed between the parties during mediation are referred back to the court for adjudication.
How is a settlement agreement under the Rules enforced? Does it become a decree of court (compromise) or is it a contract?
As per Section 89(2) of the CPC, “Where a dispute has been referred....(d) for mediation, the court shall effect a compromise between the parties and shall follow such procedure as may be prescribed.” As per Rule 25, the Court will fix a date to pass a decree as per the agreed terms after receiving the settlement agreement signed by the parties. The decree shall be passed within seven to fourteen days. However, if there are only certain disputes that are settled between the parties, the court shall pass a decree with respect to such disputes and the remaining disputes shall be decided by the court itself. This happens in case the mediation was successful.
How can a signed settlement agreement be challenged by a party?
As the signed settlement agreement is disposed of in terms of a decree, it is unlikely that you can challenge it. There is also no provision of appeal for challenging the settlement agreement entered into between the parties.
What is the timeline for the process?
As per Rule 18, a mediation must be completed within 90 days of the first session and can be extended by the court for a further period of 30 days only. As per Rule 10, at the time of initiation of mediation, parties are to meet and decide the number and duration of the sessions such that it can be resolved within this time period.
How are costs and mediator’s fees to be paid?
As per Rule 26, the Court can fix the fee of the mediator at the time of reference. Preferably, a lump sum fee must be fixed, which must be borne equally. The mediator can demand a 40% advance before the commencement of the mediation. Each party shall bear the costs for production of witnesses on his side including experts, or for production of documents.
What happens if parties are not satisfied with the way the proceedings are going? How can the process be terminated? What happens then? Is an appeal possible?
As per Rule 24, a settlement agreement is formed if the parties reach a consensus with respect to the issues in the dispute. In case, the parties fail to reach a settlement and the Mediator/Conciliator thinks no further discussion is possible, the same shall be referred to the court where the disputes are pending and same shall be decided by it accordingly. There is no provision of appeal under the said rules.
This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.