The procedure to be followed in the conciliation proceedings are mentioned in sections 62 to 81 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996. We will be looking at the few important sections to be followed in initial stage of the conciliation proceedings.
Commencement of the proceedings of Conciliation (Section 62)
Section 62 provides for the commencement of proceedings for conciliation. For the purpose of settling the dispute through the process of conciliation all what is required is a proposal in writing and its acceptance thereof. When a proposal is made by one party the other party has the option of the acceptance of proposal or its rejection. Rejection does not always have to be expressed it may be implied. If the party who sends the proposal does not receive any follow up or reply within a period of thirty days or other stipulated period it shall amounts to rejection and hence the process of conciliation will not commence.
Number of conciliators (Section 63)
Once the proposal is accepted by the other party the next important step is to have a conciliator. Section 63 of the 1996 act provides that there under usual circumstances there will be only one conciliator. And in no case the number of conciliators shall exceed three [section 63(2)] which is the maximum limit and the general rule is that they shall act jointly
Appointment of conciliators (Section 64)
There are two ways that are provided for the appointment of conciliators: First, the parties may on a mutual agreement appoint the conciliator according to the guidelines provided in section 64 (I)
(a) A sole conciliator—The parties may with their understanding mutually agree upon the name of the sole conciliator;
(b) Two conciliators— according to this provision each of the party may appoint one conciliator;
(c) Three conciliators— according to this a third conciliator may be appointed who will act as the presiding conciliator.
Second, the parties may take advice and take assistance of an institution or person for the appointment of conciliators.
Section 65 - It deals with Submission of statements by the parties to conciliator.
Section 66 - This section provides that Conciliator is not bound by the procedures envisaged in CPC, or Evidence Act.
Section 67 – This section talks about the role of a Conciliator. These roles include acting impartially, fairly, independently and strive towards reaching an amicable resolution of the dispute.
Section 69 – This section deals with the communication between the parties and the conciliator.
Section 71 – This section provides that that the parties should act in good faith and co-operate with the Conciliator
Section 73 – This section provides for the provision of the Settlement agreement and its components.
Section 75 – This sections deals with the important principle of Confidentiality.
Section 76 - This section talks about the termination of proceedings which can be done by the signing of the settlement agreement or by a declaration by a written declaration of a party to other party.
Section 78 – It talks about the costs that are included in the conciliation proceedings.
Section 81 – This section deals with evidence and its admissibility of certain kinds of evidence which cannot be used in other proceedings like proposals made by the conciliator or the fact that the other party was willing to accept a proposal.
Sections 62 – 81 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act thus provide a complete and a comprehensive procedure for Conciliation.From initiation of the process of Conciliation to the settlemet of dispute , evidence , roles of Conciliator etc. are completely covered in the aforesaid sections.