Mediation is fast catching on as an accepted alternative for resolving disputes.
Delhi’s political stalwarts Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Madan Lal Khurana, too, have realized its benefit as a 6-year-old case between them is about to be settled out of court.
The row pertains to a defamation case filed by Dikshit in the Delhi High Court, claiming a token Rs 101 damages from BJP leader Khurana, her then arch rival for the “harm caused to her reputation”.
The case dates to September 2003. In the run up to the Assembly polls, Khurana made a statement that Dikshit had in a “devious and scandalous manner” received Rs 15 crore from private electricity distribution companies to fight elections.
A two-judge bench is now hearing an appeal filed by Khurana challenging single judge Justice T.S. Thakur’s February 2005 order asking him to produce evidence to prove his allegations.
Judge Thakur had observed that Khurana's allegation against Dikshit was "per se" defamatory. Khurana argued that since Dikshit is the petitioner, the onus is on her to produce evidence to discharge herself from the allegations.
As the dispute lingered on, the division bench on July 31, 2007 appointed lawyer J.P. Sengh as a mediator to hammer out a compromise.
Settlement proceedings have been going on since two years. Dikshit is being represented by Viraj R. Datar and Khurana by H.S. Phoolka.
The matter once again came up for hearing on Monday before a bench headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen and Sengh filed a report. According to sources, a proposal for settlement have been exchanged between the lawyers of Dikshit and Khurana and the final nitty gritty is being worked out.
"Minor differences exist on the wording. That will be sealed soon with a one-to-one between the leaders," said the source.