IIAM Community Mediation Service

IIAM Community Mediation Service (IIAM CMS) with the motto; Resolving Conflicts; Promoting Harmony is a unique system of establishing Mediation Clinics designed “for the people; of the people and by the people”. IIAM CMS means neighbours helping neighbours to solve problems and resolve disputes. The Mediation Clinics will have the service of trained Mediators selected from the community.

IIAM CMS was launched nationally by the Chief Justice of India on 17th January 2009. It is endorsed by the International Mediation Institute (IMI) at the Hague, Netherlands.

The mission of IIAM CMS is to bring justice to the doorsteps of the people. It is meant to provide an opportunity for citizens to participate in the prevention and early intervention of conflicts as an alternative to institutional mechanisms. It promotes social harmony and access to justice for the ordinary citizen in a consensual and humanistic way against the background of adversarial system of judging who is right and who is wrong. The intention is to create a culture of resolving conflicts in collaborative method founded on traditions of dialogue, interests and needs. This will promote peace and harmony in the society and empower the people to deal with conflicts. Empowering the people through this mission can collectively produce spectacular results. The Mediation Clinics also help to save significant court time by addressing situations more appropriate for mediation, allowing the Courts to deal with more serious cases. It also saves disputants time and money, but most importantly the Mediation Clinics seek a win-win scenario for both parties.

Community mediation also helps in restorative justice through its variety approaches and restoring the offender in community by giving correctional practice thereby giving everyone a second chance. Sometimes victims of crime need answers and apologies more than they need to know perpetrators are being punished; and sometimes offenders need to find out just who they’ve hurt to realize what they’ve done is wrong. There is no conflict without emotion. There can be no resolution of a conflict without addressing the underlying emotions that gave rise to it and sustained it. While getting the two sides together to talk is not a normal part of the judicial process, mediation makes it possible. Restorative justice, particularly community mediation programs, help victims heal.

Community Mediation is founded on the philosophy of humanity. It is said that Humanity is built on two great pillars – grace and truth. If you remove one of them it doesn’t work. Truth alone, makes a person legalistic and self righteous, talking about do’s and don’ts and violations bring in hatred and contempt. Similarly grace alone, becomes deception and more compromised, as you make your own truth and anyone who disagrees with you is being judgmental or hateful. Neither of it is sustainable on its own. One without the other changes the whole concept of humanity. Resolutions through mediation is based on grace and truth.

Apart from providing a platform for consensual dispute resolution, IIAM CMS also hopes to restore the seriously depleted social capital and bring in a broad-based social movement to restore civic virtue and civic participation. Today virtually people are more disconnected from one another. Whether as family members, neighbours, friends, or citizens, we are tuning out rather than turning out. Researches show how social capital, or its absence, affects the well being of individuals, organizations, and nations. Economic studies demonstrate that social capital makes nations more prosperous, psychological research indicates that abundant social capital makes individuals less prone to depression and more inclined to help others, sociology experiments suggest that social capital reduces crime. Thus it is becoming increasingly clear that social capital has an enormous array of practical benefits to individuals and to communities.

Economic progress alone does not make the nation great. What is most important is national character, born out of the value systems. The system should be such that the dispensation of justice is fast and fair. Only a nation that is just can hope to be known as a great nation. IIAM hope that CMS could lay the foundation to a long term process of positive social transition by making the society just, equal and fair.

Setting up of Community Mediation Clinics in all villages of each state with a view to mediate all disputes will bring about a profound change in the Indian Legal system. It would also develop a new dimension to social welfare and empowerment and thereby create stable families and healthier societies.