Lok Adalat

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 officeras 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.

Commentary

Lok Adalats, which settle dispute through conciliation and compromise, are an Indian contribution to the world jurisprudence. The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 brought about the establishment of Lok Adalat System for settlement of disputes cheaply and expeditiously and also in the spirit of compromise by give and take formula. The Lok Adalats offer a very cheap and speedy dispute redressal mechanism between the consenting parties. A sitting or retired judicial officer along with two other members (usually a lawyer and a social worker) presides over the Lok Adalats. Lok Adalat accepts the cases pending in the regular courts within their jurisdiction which could be settled by conciliation and compromise. 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.

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