Role of pre-litigation mediation in matrimonial offences in India

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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In India, matrimonial offences are a common occurrence, and they often lead to long and costly legal battles. These offences include various issues such as divorce, maintenance, child custody, and property disputes. The traditional approach to resolving these disputes is through litigation in the courts, which can be a lengthy and stressful process. However, pre-litigation mediation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that is gaining popularity in India. In this blog post, we will discuss the role of pre-litigation mediation in matrimonial offences in India.

What is Pre-Litigation Mediation?

Pre-litigation mediation is a process of resolving disputes before the initiation of legal proceedings. It involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. The mediator does not make any decisions or impose any solutions on the parties but facilitates communication and negotiation between them. Pre-litigation mediation is voluntary, confidential, and non-binding, which means that the parties can choose to end the mediation at any time and are free to pursue legal action if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

Role of Pre-Litigation Mediation in Matrimonial Offences

Pre-litigation mediation can play a significant role in resolving matrimonial offences in India. The following are some of the benefits of pre-litigation mediation in these cases:

  1. Time and Cost-Effective: Litigation in matrimonial offences can be a long and expensive process. Pre-litigation mediation, on the other hand, can be completed in a relatively short period of time and at a lower cost. It also helps to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts.
  2. Preserving Relationships: In matrimonial offences, the parties often have a long-term relationship that needs to be maintained, especially when children are involved. Pre-litigation mediation provides a platform for the parties to communicate and negotiate in a non-confrontational manner, which helps to preserve their relationship and avoid hostility.
  3. Confidentiality: Pre-litigation mediation is a confidential process, which means that the discussions and negotiations that take place during mediation are not admissible in court. This provides the parties with a safe space to discuss sensitive issues and reach a mutually acceptable settlement without fear of the information being used against them.
  4. Better Control: In pre-litigation mediation, the parties have more control over the outcome than in litigation. They can craft a settlement that meets their specific needs and interests, which may not be possible in a court proceeding.

Case Laws on Pre-Litigation Mediation in Matrimonial Offences

The importance of pre-litigation mediation in matrimonial offences is reflected in several case laws in India. The following are some of the notable cases:

  1. Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. v. Cherian Varkey Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd. (2010)

In this case, the Supreme Court held that parties should attempt to settle their disputes through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as pre-litigation mediation before approaching the courts.

  1. Jitendra Kumar Srivastava v. Neelam Srivastava (2012)

In this case, the Allahabad High Court directed the parties to participate in pre-litigation mediation to settle their matrimonial dispute. The court held that pre-litigation mediation was a suitable method for resolving the dispute and that the parties should make a sincere effort to settle the matter.

Conclusion

In conclusion, pre-litigation mediation can be an effective mechanism for resolving matrimonial offences in India. It provides a platform for the parties to communicate and negotiate in a non-confrontational manner, which helps to preserve relationships and avoid hostility. It is also time and cost-effective and provides the parties with more control over the outcome.