The Central government should adopt mediation in a big way instead of taking recourse to litigation for resolving legal disputes, Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said on Friday.
Mediation, he said, is a process that involves resolving disagreements, bringing together various stakeholders and finding a common ground.
"The motto of the Union government and its agencies should be 'mediate, not litigate'," the CJI opined.
He further said that when the government, which is the largest litigator in the country, mediates, it sends a message that in the framework of law, the government is not an adversarial opponent to our citizens.
"The government must adopt the robes of a friend, a partner and a problem solver," the CJI emphasised.
He was speaking at a national seminar on the topic of 'Mediation: At The Dawn of a Golden age' organised at the Delhi High Court
The event was organised by Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre, Samadhan under the aegis of the National Legal Services Authority and the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee.
The CJI in his speech highlighted how India's Constitution itself was a document born out of a mediation process wherein the framers had to create a framework to resolve the many disagreements.
"The framers of the our constitution recognised the need to create a document should reflect the will and aspirations of our people. They had to create a framework to resolve the many disagreements," he said.
The CJI also said that in today's times, mediation assumes greater significance in that there is question mark over our ability to engage in reasoned dialogue with people from opposite ends of the spectrum.
"In today's fraught times, mediation has an important message for us as citizens. Are we losing our ability to talk to each other across the spectrum? Are we losing our ability to engage in reasoned dialogue," he said.
Further, he underlined how mediation helps in listening to others' viewpoint.
"Is it not necessary therefore that we should pick up something from mediation which is, importantly, being good listeners, understanding the other's point of view and not only insisting that the dogma we espouse is the only dogma which is relevant to the times," he asked.
[Read live coverage of the event below]