Mediation Act 2023: Revolutionizing Dispute Resolution in India
Mr. Paramjeet Sangwan

Mediation Act 2023: Revolutionizing Dispute Resolution in India

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The Mediation Act, 2023, recently enacted by the Central Government of India, marks a significant milestone in the country's legal landscape. With the aim of promoting and facilitating mediation as a means of dispute resolution, the Act introduces a comprehensive framework for the mediation process, enforcement of mediated settlement agreements, and the regulation of mediators and mediation institutions. This article delves into the key provisions of the Mediation Act, highlighting its impact on the resolution of civil and commercial disputes in India.


Understanding Mediation: A Powerful Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Mediation, as defined under the Mediation Act, encompasses various processes where parties seek the assistance of a neutral third party, known as a mediator, to reach an amicable settlement. This includes pre-litigation mediation, online mediation, community mediation, conciliation, and other similar methods. The Act recognizes the importance of mediation in resolving disputes efficiently and effectively.

Applicability and Scope of the Mediation Act

The Mediation Act applies to mediations conducted in India in the following scenarios:

  1. When all or both parties reside, are incorporated, or have their place of business in India.
  2. When the mediation agreement specifically provides for the disputes to be resolved under the Act.
  3. When an international mediator is involved in a commercial dispute, provided that one of the parties is a non-Indian national or habitually resides outside India.
  4. In commercial disputes where the Central or State government is a party, or in any other disputes notified subsequently.

However, certain disputes are excluded from the purview of the Act. These include criminal prosecutions, land acquisitions, disputes involving minors, deities, and persons with intellectual disabilities, as well as non-commercial disputes against the government or its agencies.

The Role of Mediators and Mediation Council of India

Under the Mediation Act, a mediator can be appointed either by mutual agreement between the parties or through a mediation service provider. Mediators must be registered with the Mediation Council of India, which is established as a regulatory body to oversee mediators and mediation institutions. The Act introduces disclosure safeguards to ensure the neutrality and professionalism of mediators.

The Mediation Process and Procedure

The Mediation Act lays down a time-bound procedure for conducting mediations in India. It emphasizes the completion of mediations within a specific timeframe, ensuring the efficiency of the process. Parties have the option to withdraw from mediation after the initial two sessions. The Act also addresses the issue of costs, with the general principle being that all costs, including mediator fees, should be borne equally by the parties unless otherwise agreed.

Confidentiality is a crucial aspect of mediation, and the Act provides safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the mediation proceedings. Mediators, participants, and experts are generally not permitted to disclose any information or communication from the mediation in any court or adjudicatory proceedings.

Mediated Settlement Agreements: Enforcement and Challenge

One of the significant features of the Mediation Act is the provision for the enforcement of domestic mediated settlement agreements. These agreements, reached through the mediation process, can be enforceable in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, as if they were court decrees. However, it is important to note that the Act does not currently provide for the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements that were not conducted in India.

In case a party wishes to challenge a mediated settlement agreement, the Act allows for such challenges on specific grounds, including fraud, corruption, impersonation, and disputes not fit for mediation.

Amendments to Existing Statutes

To align with the provisions of the Mediation Act, several existing statutes have been amended. These include the Indian Contract Act, 1872, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, the Companies Act, 2013, the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. These amendments ensure that the relevant legal framework supports and complements the mediation process.

The Impact of the Mediation Act on Dispute Resolution

The Mediation Act, 2023, brings a wave of change to the dispute resolution landscape in India. With the implementation of this Act, parties involved in civil and commercial disputes now have a statutory framework to rely on for effective mediation. The Act aims to unclog the courts and tribunals burdened with a large number of pending cases, promoting the timely resolution of disputes. By encouraging the use of mediation as a first step in dispute resolution, the Act seeks to alleviate the pressure on the judicial system and provide a more efficient and accessible alternative for parties.

The Road Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities

While the Mediation Act is a significant step towards strengthening dispute resolution in India, its success will depend on the timely establishment of the Mediation Council of India and the effective implementation of the Act's provisions. There are certain areas that may require further clarification, such as the qualification of exceptional circumstances for seeking interim relief and the enforcement of settlement agreements conducted outside of India. However, overall, the Act's institutionalization of mediation and its focus on standardization and regulation are expected to enhance the credibility and acceptance of mediation as a preferred method of resolving disputes.


The Mediation Act, 2023, ushers in a new era of dispute resolution in India. By recognizing and promoting mediation as a viable alternative to traditional litigation, the Act provides parties with a more efficient and cost-effective means of resolving civil and commercial disputes. As the legal landscape evolves, it is crucial for stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Mediation Act and embrace the opportunities it presents. With the Mediation Act in place, India is poised to become a global leader in the field of alternative dispute resolution, promoting timely justice and enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.

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