lok adalat : people’s court
Lok adalat is a system of ADR(alternative dispute resolution) developed in india where disputes/cases pending in the court of law at per-litigation stage are settled or compromised amicably section 22 of legal services authority act 1987ndeals with the powers of lok adalats. This system is based on Gandhian principles.
First lok adalat was inaugurated on 6th October 1985 in Delhi. 150 cases were decided in a day.
Lok adalat is also known as people’s court.
Organization of lok adalat
According to section 19 legal services act 1987 (1) every state authority or district authority or the supreme court legal services committee or every high court legal services committee may organize lok adalats at such intervals and places and for exercising such jurisdiction and for such areas as it thinks fit.
Jurisdiction of Lok Adalats
A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of:
- any case pending before; or
- any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any court for which the Lok Adalat is organized.
- The Lok Adalat can compromise and settle even criminal cases, which are compoundable under the relevant laws.
Advantages of Lok Adalats
- Speedy Justice
- Unburdening of Courts and thus reducing the backlog of cases
- Maintenance of Cordial Relations (since the main thrust is on compromise and not punishment)
Cases suitable for lok adalat
- Compoundable civil, revenue and criminal cases
- Motor accident compensation claims cases
- Partition Claims
- Damages Cases
- Matrimonial and family disputes
- Mutation of lands case
- Land Pattas cases
- Bonded Labor cases
- Land acquisition disputes
- Bank’s unpaid loan cases
- Arrears of retirement benefits cases
- Family Court cases
- Cases, which are not subjudice
Powers of Lok Adalats
- The Lok Adalat shall have the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure
- 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters:
- Power to summon and enforce the attendance of any witness and to examine him/her on oath.
- Power to enforce the discovery and production of any document.
- Power to receive evidence on affidavits,
AWARD PASSED BY LOK ADALAT:
Every award of the Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a Decree of a Civil Court and shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute, and no appeal shall lie to any court against the award.
REFUND OF COURT FEE:
If a pending case is settled at Lok Adalat, any Court fee already paid will be refunded as per the provisions of the Court Fees Act, 1870.
Q. Can Lok Adalats issue arrest warrant?
Yes, they can. The Lok Adalat shall have the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit. It includes the power to summon and enforce the attendance of any witness and to examine him/her on oath and also to issue a warrant
Q. How is Lok Adalat helpful in the disposal of cases?
They help in reducing the burden of other courts in disposing of the cases. The National Lok Adalats held every two months across the country is significantly contributing to the disposal of cases. .. Statistics compiled by the Law ministry show more than 50 lakh cases have been disposed of every year on an average in the last three years by these courts.
Q. Can Lok Adalat’s decisions be challenged?
Every award made by a Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute, and no appeal shall lie to any Court against the award.
The award of Lok Adalat is final and permanent which is equivalent to a decree executable, and the same is an ending to the litigation among parties.
Q. Why is Lok Adalat different from other courts?
The Lok Adalats are an alternative legal redressal forum to the courts and have proved to be very effective in settling numerous cases across the nation. It’s by a ‘compromise’ reached among the warring litigants through an ‘out-of-court’ process; the cases are settled in Lok Adalats, in the presence of the Judges. It helps in a speedy and amicable mode of settlement of disputes compared to courts.
Q. Can Lok Adalat try criminal cases?
Only Compoundable and not non-compoundable cases can be tried by Lok Adalats.Criminal offences can also be classified as compoundable and non-compoundable offences.