Conciliation is a non-adjudicatory alternative dispute resolution process which is governed by the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
CONCILIATION UNDER THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT
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.
HOW IS CONCILIATION BETTER ?
- Firstly the conciliation proceedings are effective as they are quick. This helps the parties to devote the time and energy into the conciliation proceedings.
- Secondly, it is economic. It is much cheaper than litigation and you get results out of the proceedings.
- Thirdly, it is social. After the proceedings the parties are mostly happy with the results.
Conciliation is considered as a better alternative to formal litigation system. It leads to amicable settlement process. The difference between arbitration and conciliation is:
In arbitration the parties choose the arbitrator, who presents their sides of the case. Whereas conciliation attempts to make parties come to an agreement, about the problem in hand. Also, an arbitrator has a right to enforce his decision, whereas a conciliator cannot enforce his decision.