Lok Adalats (people’s courts) settle dispute through conciliation and compromise. The First Lok Adalat was held in Gujarat in 1982. Lok Adalat accepts the cases pending in the regular courts within their jurisdiction which could be settled by conciliation and compromise.
- The Lok Adalat is presided over by a sitting or retired judicial officer as the chairman, with two other members, usually a lawyer and a social worker.
- Main condition of the Lok Adalat is that both parties in dispute should agree for settlement.
- There is no court fee. If the case is already filed in the regular court, the fee paid will be refunded if the dispute is settled at the Lok Adalat
- The procedural laws and the Evidence Act are not strictly followed while assessing the merits of the claim by the Lok Adalat.
The decision of the Lok Adalat is binding on the parties to the dispute and its order is capable of execution through legal process. No appeal lies against the order of the Lok Adalat. Lok Adalat is very effective in settlement of money claims. Disputes like partition suits, damages and matrimonial cases can also be easily settled before Lok Adalat, as the scope for compromise through an approach of give and take is high in these cases.