More than 54 percent of the people in India haven’t heard of Mediation. Some confuse it with meditation or think it is the same as arbitration.
But why does this matter?
The state of access to justice in India is appalling. It takes an average of three years to settle a case, with each court hearing costing approximately Rs 518. The litigation cost comes up to 0.4 percent of our GDP.
Even if we were to ignore the cost and time issues, the basic problem with an adjudicative process is that the power to decide your case is given to a third party, usually a judge or an arbitrator. If you are not happy with the decision, you appeal or challenge it. And it goes on.
But does every case need to have a winner and a loser? Don’t you think sometimes both parties are at fault or both parties might be right in their respective positions?
There are always two sides to a story and maybe sometimes you need a solution and not a win. Mediation provides you that.
Indian Mediation Week, a pan-India mediation awareness event, is being organised by NUJS, Kolkata, from 11th – 17th September, 2017, with support from Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India and Supreme Court Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee.
We are looking for students who are passionate about mediation and improving access to justice in India.
The primary responsibility of the student ambassadors is to organize mediation awareness drives in different parts of their city and organize a mediation related activity in their respective law school during the mediation week.
What is a mediation awareness drive?
In a mediation awareness drive, you directly engage with the public and tell him/her about the process of mediation.
Students of NUJS, Kolkata in collaboration with the NUJS legal aid society have organized 17 mediation awareness drives till now. We have engaged with around 700 people and have received around 55 disputes/legal issues.
We have collaborated with lawyers/mediators in Kolkata, who have agreed to provide pro-bono mediation service for the cases we get from these mediation awareness drives.
Also, some people have legal issues such as getting a registered probate will from court, making affidavits, birth certificates or they need some legal guidance. In those situations, the NUJS legal aid society tries to help them.
How to organize a mediation awareness drive?
1. You choose a popular area.
2. You print around 50-100 pamphlets. The pamphlets contains information about mediation, its benefits and number of mediators/mediation centers they can get in touch with, when they have disputes.
3. You go to that area, talk to shopkeepers, traders, people on the road and distribute those pamphlets.
4. Some people might share their legal problems with you. You note down the details and their phone numbers. If they have no problems, you leave the pamphlet and give them numbers to call, in case they have any issues in the future.
5. You go back to college. You can either refer that problem to your legal aid society, or you can get in touch with a mediator/lawyer from your city to help out with the dispute.
Team Indian Mediation Week is already in touch with some mediation centers/lawyers across India, who will be willing to provide pro-bono services for the cases they receive from these mediation awareness drives.
We will also provide as much logistical assistance as we can, for the mediation awareness drives.
It is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of courage to go to the streets and promote access to justice. But when you directly interact with the people, hear their problems and help them find a solution for free, it is indeed satisfying.
Your profile will be updated on the Indian mediation week website and whatever access to justice work you do will be covered on the facebook page here.
Interested students can send their resume at- firstname.lastname@example.org
Do talk about your interest/experience in the field of mediation in the cover letter of that email.
The deadline is 5th August, 2017.
If there are any queries, feel free to get in touch with Akshetha Ashok +91-9620606424, Pranjal Sinha +91-7337030883 or Rohit Sharma +91-9062565741.