Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry launches its Centre for Mediation and Conciliation

The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry has set up its Centre for Mediation and Conciliation (CMC), under the guidance of the Bombay High Court, to provide commercial dispute mediation services nationwide. Some mediators on their panel include Hon’ble Justice B. N. Srikrishna, Hon’ble Justice Kanade, Mr. Bill Marsh from United Kingdom, Mr. Jeremy Lack from Switzerland, Mr. Prathamesh Popat from Mumbai, Mr. Sriram Panchu and Mr. A Jawad from Chennai and Ms. Ekta Bahl from Samvad Partners Hyderabad.

In circumstances where organisations like World Bank have identified pendency of lawsuits and appeal tendency as roadblocks to doing business in India, CMC’s vision is to help create a harmonious business environment with enduring business relationships by encouraging dispute resolution through aided dialogue and concluding them swiftly, economically, confidentially and amicably. CMC’s Chief Mentor is Mr. Sumit Banerjee, IIT alumni, formerly Vice Chairman at Reliance Cement, CEO – Infra Businesses at Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Ex MD & CEO of ACC Ltd. and trained mediator.

CMC’s launch was marked by the seminar, ‘Mediation – A Business Friendly Alternative for Dispute Resolution’, organised by Bombay Chamber (and partly sponsored by Raamya Technologies) at Mumbai on 28 June 2018.

In his keynote address, Hon’ble Justice Mr. V.M. Kanade (Retd.) highlighted that businesses preferred writing off disputes as bad debts to litigation and stressed the necessity for mediation awareness. He also lauded Bombay Chamber for being the “only institution” to be recognised by the Bombay High Court.

The seminar featured a panel discussion on “How can Mediation succeed in India” with moderator Mr. Tarun Nangia (Associate Director, NewsX TV) and panellists Ms. Sucheta Dalal (Trustee, Moneylife Foundation), Mr. Saugata Chakravarty (General Counsel, Siemens Ltd), Mr. Mukesh Chand (General Manager Legal, SIDBI), Mr. Suresh Kumar Sharma (General Counsel, Partner, Deloitte Shared Services India LLP), Mr. Chakrapani Mishra (Partner, Khaitan & Co) and Mr. Rajiv Mohapatra (General Counsel, Home Credit Advisory Services India). Ms. Dalal pointed out one of the reasons for alternative dispute resolution not succeeding so far in India was that the government continued being the biggest litigator and reluctant to settle disputes. The sentiment was shared by Mr. Chakravarty from Siemens who further opined that if the experts on dispute resolution boards act as mediators who facilitate constructive dialogue between parties and assist them in coming to mutually agreeable terms of settlement, the problem of time consumed in adjudication and the problem of sanctity of their ‘orders’ shall be resolved. Mr. Mishra, Partner at Khaitan & Co discussed his role in the settlement of $2.9 million Sesa Goa maritime arbitration. Mr. Mohapatra from Home Credit expressed that if promoted well, mediation could be a “win-win” for the industry and the legal fraternity. Mr. Suresh Sharma from Delloitte expressed how forensic accounting cases could be best suited for mediation due to its confidentiality and quick resolution. Mr. Chand conveyed the current general perception of mediation being suitable only for family disputes and reiterated the need for better awareness.

Mr. Anuroop Omkar, Partner AK & Partners & External Advisor to Centre for Mediation & Conciliation narrated five successful commercial mediations handled by him in the past. All names and details were changed to preserve confidentiality of mediations.

The seminar was followed by Bombay Chamber’s 182nd AGM wherein Hon’ble Justice Mr. B.N Srikrishna (Retd.) inaugurated the CMC website. Appreciating Bombay Chamber’s initiative, he said that mediation is not dispute resolution but dispute mitigation when the parties sense that there is a possibility of a dispute.

The seminar panel discussion will be aired on NewsX TV’s show “Legally Speaking” on Saturday, 7 July 2018 at 10.25 PM and Sunday, 8 July 2018 at 12.25 PM.

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