The Delhi High Court has directed the Registrar General of the High Court to place an Advocate’s candidature before the Committee monitoring Mediation Centres for Mediation Training Programme.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh was dealing with an Advocate’s plea challenging the fixation of qualification of minimum eligibility requirement of net declared professional income of Rs. 6 lakhs, in the financial years ending March 31, 2021 and March 31, 2022 for undertaking the 40-hour training programme on the ‘Concept and Techniques of Mediation’.

According to the Counsel for the Petitioner, the fixation of the eligibility criteria of Rs.6 lakhs as minimum net declared professional income for the past 2 financial years, is not part of the Mediation and Conciliation Rules, 2004 and therefore, is contrary to the law itself.

It was further submitted that the Petitioner completed 40 hours mediation training held by Association For India International Mediation & Arbitration Services (“AIIMAS”) which is a private institution and is now keen on undertaking the course through the Delhi Mediation Centre.

The Counsel for the Petitioner said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his income had gone down and currently his income is around Rs.4,00,000.

On the other hand Counsel for the Respondent No. 2-Delhi Mediation Centre submitted that the recommendation of the Delhi Mediation Centre fixing the eligibility criteria of Rs.6 lakhs as minimum net declared professional income was duly approved by the concerned Monitoring Committee of the Court as also the Chief Justice.

Accordingly, the eligibility criteria for net declared professional income of the advocate has been fixed at Rs.6,00,000.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate Amit George appeared for Delhi Mediation Centre.

The Court observed that “Considering that during the pandemic period, several lawyers’ incomes did not match up to the pre-pandemic levels, for some time, in the opinion of the Court, relaxation could be considered, even if on a case-to-case basis.”

Accordingly, the Court directed that “In view of the above facts, this Court directs that the Petitioner’s case may be placed by the ld. Registrar General, Delhi High Court before the concerned Committee monitoring Mediation Centres in the High Court, for consideration of the Petitioner’s case.”

Cause Title- Umesh Gupta v. Registrar General Delhi High Court & Anr. (Neutral Citation Number- 2023/DHC/001541)

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