Despite our elaborate hierarchy of courts, the number of cases pending in courts in India is outrageous. Thus, it is an opportune time to turn our sights to alternate systems of dispute resolution which are time efficient and less expensive when compared to the conventional system of adjudication through courts.
Further, some methods of dispute resolution are more suitable than regular adjudication for specific problems. An appropriate example is the employment of mediation as a method of resolving commercial disputes, Intellectual property infringement cases, labor-management disputes, and several other matters, most importantly in family and marital issues. Such issues are sensitive and involve not only the problem at large but also emotional elements. They cannot be dealt with objectively, based on facts alone, like a property or financial issue. Sentiments, emotions, social factors, responsibilities, personal duties, and the mindset of the parties are significant considerations in mediation.
Thus, the mediator must ensure that he protects the interests of both parties as much as possible to create a win-win situation. The role of the mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator. His role is to bring a peaceful settlement between both parties. Thus, it is suitable to employ mediation to resolve matrimonial and family disputes. A few of the benefits are cost efficiency, client satisfaction, and complete confidentiality.
THE NECESSITY OF MEDIATION FOR MATRIMONIAL DISPUTES:
Marriage earlier was considered as sacred and is the commitment between the spouse to stand by the side of each other in every situation. Black’s Dictionary for law defines divorce as “the legal separation of man and wife. While this definition is simple and short, the definition of marriage is much more complex. Britannica – Webster defines Marriage as “an institution whereby man and woman are joined in a special social and legal relationship to make a home and raise a family.”
Thus marriage is not just a legal union, but a social, emotional, and sometimes religious bond between two individuals. In the modern era, matrimonial disputes arise due to lack of communication and difference of opinions, therefore the need for judicial scrutiny was required. Prior to the establishment of laws relating to domestic relations, the disputes among the parties were solved by themselves or by getting advice from their close ones. Although courts are equipped to deal with the legal dissolution of marriage, emotions and other considerations are seen as irrelevant. It is also important to deal with the emotional and social issues affecting the marriage to fully resolve the dispute. Prolonging the cases trying to settle quarrels between spouses deepens emotional scars and has a huge impact on both the parties and the children of the couple. Often the interest of children and their extended relatives are ignored in this process.
A divorce between the parties is a painful event and a delicate matter and so it should be solved carefully and sensitively by mutually settling the complexities between parties which cannot be done in an open court proceeding. Hence, the need for Alternative Dispute Resolution before the litigation proceedings arose. Mediation in matrimonial dispute is proven to be the best form of dispute solving mechanism with many advantages attached to it, the main being speedy disposal and cost-efficient.
MEDIATION TAKEN AS A METHOD OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION:
Mediation is the process where the parties reach out for settlement of the disputes arising between them. It is considered to be the best viable option even by the judiciary as mediation involves less procedure and the parties are free to consensually and collaboratively arrive at a solution. Mediation is a private and confidential process and hence it is the finest method for matrimonial disputes.
Mediation like other forms of alternatives has its advantage and disadvantages. The benefits of adopting this method for marital affairs include cost-efficient, consensual solution, freedom of the parties to dismiss the proceedings anytime if they feel it is not working out, informal procedure, speedy justice, impartiality, safeguards family relationships and protects children from facing the traumatic process. However, the use of mediation in settling disputes has a smaller extent of disadvantages when compared to the advantages.