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Supreme court Guidelines regarding confidentiality in Mediation

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

C.A. No. 1095 of 2008

Decided On: 07.12.2010

Moti Ram Vs. Ashok Kumar and Ors.

Hon’ble Judges/Coram:
Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.

Citation: (2011)1 SCC 466

1. On 31st August, 2010, we had referred the matter for mediation to the Mediation Centre at Chandigarh to attempt to resolve the dispute between the parties. Today, when the matter was called out, our Court Secretary placed before us the Report dated 29th September, 2010 received from the Mediator, which is as follows:

Mr. Ashok Kumar states that he would be ready and willing to vacate the shop on receipt of 1/3rd of the value of the shop which according to him is worth approximately 50 Lacs and he be paid an amount of 15 Lacs (approx.). The Appellant-landlord is not ready and willing to offer the said amount and has extended the concession by giving up on the pending rent only which according to him is pending for last 28 years. Tenant has also expressed his willingness to purchase the property for an amount of Rs. 30 Lacs but the landlord has refused to dispose of the same on the ground of personal necessity.
2. In this connection, we would like to state that mediation proceedings are totally confidential proceedings. This is unlike proceedings in Court which are conducted openly in the public gaze. If the mediation succeeds, then the mediator should send the agreement signed by both the parties to the Court without mentioning what transpired during the mediation proceedings. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then the mediator should only write one sentence in his report and send it to the Court stating that the ‘Mediation has been unsuccessful’. Beyond that, the mediator should not write anything which was discussed, proposed or done during the mediation proceedings. This is because in mediation, very often, offers, counter offers and proposals are made by the parties but until and unless the parties reach to an agreement signed by them, it will not amount to any concluded contract. If the happenings in the mediation proceedings are disclosed, it will destroy the confidentiality of the mediation process.

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3. We are compelled to observe this because the mediators should know what kind of reports they should send to the Courts. The report sent in this core should not have mentioned the proposals made by the parties, but should only have stated that the mediation was unsuccessful.

4. Let a copy of this order be sent to the Supreme Court Mediation Centre and the Mediation Centres in all the High Courts and District Courts in the country, including the Chandigarh Mediation Centre. So far as this case is concerned, at the request of the counsel for the Appellants, list this matter in January, 2011.

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