Part 3 of the Arbitration and Conciliation act, 1996 speaks about Conciliation. According to Wharton’s Law Lexicon, conciliation is a non-adjudicatory alternative dispute resolution process which is governed by the provisions of the arbitration and conciliation act, 1996 (26 of 1996).
Section 62 speaks about the commencement of the proceedings. It is necessary for the party initiating the process to send a written invitation to the other party regarding the matter in dispute. The proceeding shall start only if the other party accepts the invitation. If the party does not receive a reply within 30 days from the date of which the invitation was sent, it is automatically assumed that the invitation is rejected.
Section 63 says that the number of conciliators will be decided by the parties.
Section 64 speaks about the appointment of conciliators. In case of a sole conciliator, the parties must together agree upon the name of the conciliator. In case of two conciliators, each party must appoint one conciliator. In case of three conciliators, each party shall appoint one conciliator and both parties together shall agree upon a conciliator who shall be the presiding conciliator.
Section 67 speaks about the role of the conciliator. It is necessary for the conciliator to assist the parties in an independent and impartial manner. The conciliator may conduct the proceeding which may seem appropriate to the case in hand. The conciliator has a right to make proposals for settlement at any stage of the proceedings. The settlement may not be in a written format and also the statement of reasons is not required.
Section 69 says that the conciliator can communicate with each party individually or jointly, orally or in writing.
Section 70 speaks about the disclosure of information. If a party lets out any factual information regarding the dispute, the conciliator shall disclose the information to the other party for them to have an opportunity to present any relevant explanation. In case the party lets out any information, with a specific condition for it to be kept confidential, then the conciliator cannot disclose the information to the other party.
Section 73 explains what is a settlement agreement? If the party agree upon settling they may draw up or sign a written settlement agreement. The conciliator may draw up or assist the parties in making a settlement agreement on the request of the parties. After the parties sign the agreement, it shall be binding. It is also necessary for the conciliator to provide a copy of the settlement agreement to each of the parties.