The Mediation Bill, 2021, which aims to promote and facilitate mediation, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday..The Bill was introduced on December 20, 2021 before being referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice headed by Sushil Kumar Modi.The committee submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha chairperson on July 13, 2022..According to the text, the Bill aims to "promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provide for a body for registration of mediators, to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation as acceptable and cost effective process and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.".The Bill requires individuals to try and resolve civil or commercial disputes through mediation before resorting to any court or tribunal. After two mediation sessions, a party will be allowed to withdraw from the process. The mediation process itself should be completed within 180 days, with the possibility of extending it by another 180 days if the parties agree.To oversee the mediation process, the Mediation Council of India will be established. Its responsibilities include registering mediators and recognizing mediation service providers and mediation institutes, which are involved in training and certifying mediators.Certain disputes are deemed inappropriate for mediation such as those involving criminal prosecution or impacting the rights of third parties. The Central government has the authority to amend this list if needed.In cases where the parties agree, they can appoint any individual as a mediator. If an agreement cannot be reached on the mediator, they can seek the assistance of a mediation service provider which will appoint a mediator from its panel of qualified mediators.The agreements resulting from successful mediation will be legally binding and enforceable in the same manner as court judgments..The Bill has received criticism for making participation in pre-litigation mediation mandatory, which goes against the traditional voluntary nature of mediation. Another major concern is that the Mediation Council, tasked with regulating mediators' profession, lacks adequate representation of experienced practitioners unlike other professional regulators like the Bar Council of India (BCI).Additionally, the Council requires prior approval from the Central government for its regulations, raising questions about the government's potential involvement as a party to mediations. Moreover, the Bill doesn't provide for enforcement of settlement agreements from international mediations conducted outside India.