Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Saturday called for a comprehensive legislation spelling out "compulsory pre-litigation mediation" that will help reduce the massive pressure on the country's courts.
Speaking at the third edition of an international conference on "Arbitration in the Era of Globalisation", Justice Bobde said a robust "arbitration bar" is critical to the development of institutional arbitration in India as it would ensure availability and accessibility of practitioners with knowledge and experience.
"I think the time is ripe to devise a comprehensive legislation which contains compulsory pre-litigation mediation and a remedy for the biggest drawback in a mediation agreement that is to say the unenforceability of an agreement arrived at a mediation would ensure efficiency and also reduce the time pendency for parties as well as the courts," he said.
He added that arbitration was not meant to mirror litigation. "The time-consuming methods of long oral arguments, long written submissions and a reference to precedence are bound to bring about the same effect in arbitration as it is done in litigation," he said.
Justice Bobde said that today arbitration plays an essential role in the global infrastructure of international trade, commerce and investment and as an integral member of the global community and a trading and investment giant, how India engages with international arbitration has important ramifications on international trans-boundary flows of trade, commerce and investments as a whole.
"Judging can be a difficult task and judges do what everybody avoids doing, i.e., take decisions. Popularity is a mirage for judges. No judge worth a salt aims at popularity. The idea is to resolve a dispute. But there is a dissatisfaction in the outcome which results in the hierarchy of the appeals which cannot be avoided," he said.