Lok Adalat

History

The idea of Lok Adalats was pushed once again into obscurity in most recent couple of hundreds of years before freedom and especially during the British system. Presently, this idea has, by and by, been revived. It has gotten mainstream and recognizable among prosecutors. This is the framework, which has profound roots in Indian legitimate history and its nearby faithfulness to the way of life and view of equity in Indian ethos. Experience has indicated that it is one of the extremely proficient and significant ADR instruments and generally fit to the Indian climate, culture and cultural interests.

Introduction

In villages, when any dispute takes place, then that matter is heard by group of people known as ‘panch’ who decides the matter in amicable manner with the mutual understanding of both the parties. This concept of resolution of dispute has evolved since long time and that took the form of ‘Lok Adalat’. Lok Adalat is one of the forms of ADR which means that, this is one of the processes of settling any dispute in amicable manner. The decision of Lok Adalat is final and binding on both the parties as this court has all the powers which are vested with the civil courts. No appeal shall lie against the award, as there is no such provision which shall discuss about the appeal of the awards pronounced by this body. But the party who is not satisfied with the award then, in that case one can move to the appropriate authority within the jurisdiction of the case and file their concerns before that authority according to ‘right to litigate’. The main objective of Lok Adalat is to lessen the burden of the judicial body and help in speedy disposal of cases. Lok Adalat have been given the statutory status under Legal Services Authorities act, 1987. This statutory recognition will also help in providing free legal aid services to the weaker section of the society so that every individual has the access to justice. No person can be denied for justice only, because of the reason of low economic status or any other inability/disability. The concept of Lok Adalat was first introduced in Gujarat in 1982 and now this system had started to gain familiarity in the whole country.

Procedure to be followed at Lok Adalat

There is a definite process which is needed to be followed for the access of justice through Lok Adalat. First and foremost, thing which is needed to be noted here that, there is no need of advocate for presenting the case of any of the parties. Both of the parties can themselves approach the authorities and present their matter before the appropriate authority. There is a face-to-face interaction of both the parties with the person who is going to decide on the matter or who has the authority to do so.

Levels of Lok Adalat

Lok Adalat is further divided at different levels and it operates at different levels with the different people appointed for the same work so that the work can be done in organized and effective manner. This system has been divided under three levels namely:

I. Levels of Lok Adalat
a. State Authority Level

The bench will constitute of:

  • Member secretary of state legal services authority;
  • Sitting or retired judicial officer or;
  • Sitting or retired High Court judge and;
  • Any one or two members from the legal profession and;
  • One social worker who will help in the implementation of legal programs or schemes for uplifting some part of the society which is economically and financially backward.

b. High Court Level

  • Secretary of High Court Legal Services Committee;
  • Sitting or retired High Court judge and;
  • One or two members from the legal profession and;
  • One social worker who will help in the implementation of legal programs or schemes for uplifting some part of the society which is economically and financially backward.

c. District Level

  • Secretary of District Level Legal Services authority;
  • Sitting or retired judicial officer and;
  • One or two members from the legal profession and/or;
  • One social worker who will help in the implementation of legal programs or; schemes for uplifting some part of the society which is economically and financially backward or a person who is involved in paralegal activities (woman is preferred)

d. Taluka Level

  • Secretary of Taluk Legal Services authority;
  • Sitting or retired judicial officer and;
  • One or two members from the legal profession and/or;
  • One social worker who will help in the implementation of legal programs or; schemes for uplifting some part of the society which is economically and financially backward or a person who is involved in paralegal activities (woman is preferred)

II. National level Lok Adalat

National Lok Adalat is held at regular intervals whereas one day is fixed when Lok Adalat is being held throughout the country, in every court, right from the lowest level of Taluka level to the Supreme Court. At that point, huge number of cases are being disposed of.
Apart from these Adalats, under section 22-B of The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 the term ‘Permanent Lok Adalat’ had been described. This Adalat had been inserted by the way of amendment in 2002 by the parliament. This permanent Adalat means that, where a chairman with two other members, who will be working for covering the compulsory process of pre-litigation of conciliation for setting aside the cases of public utility services. The cases which are held over here, the priority is given to the parties for deciding the place of proceedings, the way in which proceeding should take place, if not satisfies with the decision then that could be amended as per need of the parties.
The new concept of mobile Adalat had also been introduced where, they travel from one place to another in order to resolve small disputes.

Significance of Lok Adalat

Justice Ramaswamy says: Resolving debates through Lok Adalat not just limits case use, it saves significant season of the gatherings and their observers and furthermore encourages modest and brief cure suitably as per the general inclination of both the gatherings.

Law Courts in India face mainly these four issues:

  • The quantity of courts and judges in all evaluations are alarmingly deficient.
  • Increase in progression of cases lately because of diverse Acts instituted by the Central and State Governments.
  • The significant expense associated with arraigning or shielding a case in a courtroom, because of heavy court expense, legal advisor’s charge and accidental charges.
  • Delay in removal of cases bringing about immense pendency in all the courts.

Lok Adalat has a positive contributory job in providing justice in the society. It supplements the endeavors and work of the courts. Region of commitment picked for the reason exceptionally concerns and helps the average person, poor people, in reverse and the economic backward people of the society.

Conclusion

The central purpose of Lok Adalats is on agreeing on mutual understanding. At the point when no mutual agreement is reached, the issue returns to the court. While leading the procedures, a Lok Adalat goes about as a conciliator and not as an authority. Its job is to convince the gatherings to hit upon an answer and help in accommodating the challenging contrasts. Lok Adalat can’t choose the issues nor would it be able to impact or power the gatherings to choose with a specific goal in mind. It supports consensual courses of action. It isn’t workable for lok adalat to choose any issue not worthy to any of the gatherings. Lok Adalats are likewise needed to follow the standards of principles of natural justice and other legal standards. Lok Adalats assume a significant part to progress and fortify “equivalent admittance to equity”, the core of the Constitution of India, a reality. This Indian commitment to world ADR law should be exploited. Greatest number of Lok Adalats should be coordinated to accomplish the Gandhian Principle of Gram Swaraj and “admittance to equity for all”.

References

https://nalsa.gov.in/lok-adalat
http://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/lok_a.htm
http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1823-lok-adalat-alternative-dispute-resolution-mechanism-in-india.html
https://viamediationcentre.org/readnews/Mzk3/Procedure-of-Lok-Adalat#:~:text=Anyone%20or%20more%20of%20the,an%20amicable%20solution%20and%20once

AUTHOR:

Harshika Agrawal
(Amity University Mumbai)