Dr. Avnish Jolly, 17th May, 2008,Chandigarh: Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain, Punjab and Haryana High Court inaugurated the first mediation and reconciliation centre of UT District Court yesterday. To bring down litigation pertaining to insurance claims, talks are on with insurance companies to adopt alternative disputes resolution. The centre is second of its kind in the Union Territory, with the first already operational in the high court. The mediation centre in the District Court has five chambers and a hall to provide conciliation to the disputing parties.
Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain said that 20 more such centres will come up in various district courts of Punjab and Haryana. He added that the courts and jails of Punjab and Haryana will soon be linked with each other via video-conferencing. When operational, judges will not have to go to jails to record the statements of the accused. Similarly, criminals, who are brought in courts to mark their attendance, will be able to record their statements through video-conferencing. Rupees Two crore have already been sanctioned for the project, he said.
Justice Jain added that the district courts and high court will be linked through local area networking and online filing of petition by litigants will be made possible to save the time of the people.
He said that the centres will aim to provide pre litigation conciliation through trained mediators which would aim to resolve disputes. The approach of a mediation and conciliation centre is different from a court. The case in the court is decided on merits, whereas at the mediation centre, efforts are made to end the dispute and strike a compromise between the two parties. Retired Judges, lawyers, NGOs, social activists and psychologists are all eligible to be appointed as mediators after training.
Lawyers with experience of more than ten years will be appointed on the panel of mediators after a training of forty hours. To bring down litigation pertaining to insurance claims, talks are on with insurance companies to adopt alternative disputes resolution.
At present, there is no mediation officer or judge in the district court to act as a nodal officer and decide cases.