Disputes arise in various contexts, and parties often seek ways to resolve them without resorting to lengthy and costly litigation. However, finding a fair and impartial mediator who can assist in reaching a mutually agreeable solution can be challenging. This is where the appointment of conciliators becomes crucial.
The Arbitration and Conciliation Act provides a solution by outlining the framework for appointing conciliators.
What is Conciliation?
Conciliation is a voluntary and confidential method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party, known as a conciliator, assists disputing parties in resolving their differences and reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.
In conciliation, the conciliator acts as a facilitator, helping the parties communicate effectively, understand each other’s perspectives, and find common ground for resolving their dispute. The conciliator is a neutral and impartial intermediary who does not impose decisions but guides the parties towards a resolution through dialogue and negotiation.
Who is a Conciliator?
A conciliator is a neutral third party appointed or chosen to facilitate the conciliation process in dispute resolution. The conciliator’s role is to assist the disputing parties in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement through open communication, negotiation, and consensus-building.
A conciliator is typically someone with expertise and experience in dispute resolution, negotiation, and conflict management.
Appointment of Conciliator under Arbitration and Conciliation Act
Under the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the number and qualifications of conciliators are outlined in Sections 63 and 64:
Number of Conciliators (Section 63)
- By default, there shall be one conciliator in a conciliation proceeding.
- However, the parties involved in the dispute can agree on the appointment of two or three conciliators if they wish.
- When multiple conciliators are appointed, they are generally expected to act jointly in conducting the conciliation proceedings.
According to the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the appointment of a conciliator in conciliation proceedings follows the following guidelines:
Appointment by Agreement
- In conciliation proceedings with one conciliator, the parties have the freedom to agree on the name of a sole conciliator.
- In conciliation proceedings with two conciliators, each party has the right to appoint one conciliator.
- In conciliation proceedings with three conciliators, each party has the right to appoint one conciliator, and the parties may collectively agree on the name of the third conciliator, who will act as the presiding conciliator.
Enlisting Assistance of an Institution or Person
Parties also have the option to seek the assistance of a suitable institution or person in connection with the appointment of conciliators. This can be done through the following means:
- A party may request such an institution or person to recommend the names of suitable individuals to act as a conciliator.
- The parties may agree that the appointment of one or more conciliators be made directly by such an institution or person.
In making recommendations or appointments, the institution or person involved must consider factors that ensure the appointment of an independent and impartial conciliator. Additionally, when appointing a sole or third conciliator, they should consider the desirability of appointing a conciliator of a nationality different from that of the parties.
These provisions ensure that the appointment of a conciliator is conducted in a manner that upholds the principles of neutrality, independence, and impartiality, thereby promoting a fair and effective conciliation process.
Role of Conciliators
The role of Conciliators is important in facilitating communication, promoting understanding, and guiding the parties towards a mutually agreeable settlement. They must be neutral, and impartial, and possess the necessary skills to conduct the conciliation process effectively. Their primary objective is to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary resolution through dialogue and negotiation.
Appointing conciliators in conciliation is a crucial aspect of alternative dispute resolution. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act provides guidelines in Sections 63 and 64 regarding the number and qualifications of conciliators.
Parties have the flexibility to agree on the appointment of one, two, or three conciliators, with the expectation that they will act jointly in most cases. The Act also allows parties to seek the assistance of a suitable institution or person in the appointment process.
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