Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) is a body that is set up by the State Governments in India. In 1987, Parliament enacted the Legal Services Authority Act [NALSA, 2015] as an alternative dispute resolution and this was aimed to supplement the court system with speedy and economic justice. The first state to set up Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) was Gujarat in Junagadh [Agarwal, 2020] and since then, it has seen tremendous growth all over the country.
Meaning (लोक अदालत क्या है)
Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) in simple words means People’s Court ie. from the hindi words, ‘Lok’ for ‘People’ and ‘Adalat’ for ‘Court’.
The main aim of Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) is to be as an alternate or a substitute body of the court that is able to settle disputes in a fast manner.
It consists of a retired Judge or a sitting Judge and other persons who can be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court. They can be from public services or the judiciary.
Mode of Operation (लोक अदालत में आवेदन कैसे करे)
We come to know about Lok Adalats from newspapers or if it is put up in the High Court Public Complaints board.
It follows the due process of law:
- Collection of all factual information.
- It can examine the witness.
- Ascertaining all the facts.
It deals with pending and pre-litigation cases like insurance, accident compensation, labour disputes, women’s issues, problems relating to employment and other issues related to state government.
National Lok Adalat
It is where Lok Adalats are set up at regular intervals all over the country to settle a number of disputes at various levels. National Lok Adalats are temporary in nature.
Permanent Lok Adalat
These are permanent bodies set up under Section 22-B of The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Permanent Lok Adalats have jurisdiction over pre-litigation matters only [Anita, n.d.]. Unlike other Lok Adalats that have jurisdiction over pending as well as pre-litigation matters.
Mobile Lok Adalats
It is a temporary body that is not fixed in its location ie. can be organized in different parts of India from one location to another to settle disputes across the country.
According to District Legal Services Authority secretary and Sub Judge B. Prabhathu Kumar, the concept of Mobile Lok Adalat was aimed at “bringing justice at the door steps” [The Hindu, 2015].
Mobile Lok Adalats endeavors to reach at the doorstep of the people. Similarly, e-Lok Adalat does the same via the online platform. This type of Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) is one of the most innovative as it uses technology to provide legal services to the citizens.
The first state to start e-Lok Adalat was Chhattisgarh [Mahapatra, 2020]. This was in response to the covid-19 pandemic where the country witnessed lockdown leading to an increase in the number of pending cases. Through video conferencing, e-Lok Adalat is made possible.
Importance (लोक अदालत की शक्तियां)
- As we all know that justice delayed is justice denied. So, Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) helps to reach a verdict in a case at the earliest compared to other courts where the case may continue for years.
- Considering Lok Adalats are economical, the weaker sections of society can benefit.
- It is useful to tackle the number of pending cases in the country.
- Provides a source of encouragement to the people of India where disputes can be settled outside the formal set-up.
- Cases of a minor nature like family feuds, disputes between neighbors can be settled through Lok Adalats.
In 1994 under the Legal Services Authority Act, the Government decided that Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत) would be binding on the parties concerned [Ravikmar, n.d.]. However, in practice it is not binding in all the states, and citizens can appeal to the High Court if they are unhappy. Lok Adalat cannot take up criminal cases and civil cases.
By: Kester Pereira
Agarwal (2020): ‘Have Lok Adalats Performed and Worked as it Should?’ <https://theleaflet.in/have-lok-adalats-performed-and-worked-as-it-should/ > (last viewed on 28th April 2022)
Anita, n.d.: ‘Lok Adalats And Parmanent Lok Adalat’ <https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-953-lok-adalats-and-parmanent-lok-adalat.html> (last viewed on 28th April 2022)
Mahapatra (2020): ‘Chhattisgarh becomes first state to start e-Lok Adalats’ <https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chhattisgarh-becomes-first-state-to-start-e-lok-adalats/articleshow/76912410.cms> (last viewed on 26th April 2022)
NALSA (2015): ‘Lok Adalat’ <https://nalsa.gov.in/lok-adalat> (last viewed on 27th April 2022)
Ravikmar, n.d.: ‘Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, legal Aid Law in India, Lok Adalat’ <https://www.legalserviceindia.com/articles/legaut.htm> (last viewed on 28th April 2022)
The Hindu (2015): ‘Mobile Lok Adalat starts journey’ <https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/mobile-lok-adalat-starts-journey/article7446071.ece> (last viewed on 28th April 2022)
One thought on “All you need to know about Lok Adalat (लोक अदालत)”
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