The commitment given in the preamble of the Indian Constitution to ensure the social, economic, and political justice of every Indian citizen is to be carried out by the Lok Adalat. The Constitution’s Article 39A ensures that those who are less fortunate or weaker in society will receive free legal assistance and supports justice based on fair access. The Constitution’s Articles 14 and 22(1) further require the State to ensure equality before the law. Lok Adalats, which is covered in this article, is covered in the Indian Polity and Governance of UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.
Lok Adalat Meaning
The Lok Adalat is an ancient sort of adjudicating system that was used in ancient India; according to the Supreme Court, its legality has not been revoked in current times either. Lok Adalat is an acronym for “People’s Court.” Gandhian ideals serve as the foundation of this system.
It is a part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system that offers the general people informal, minimum, and quick justice. The first Lok Adalat camp in Gujarat took place in 1982 as a voluntary and conciliation-based institution without any formal backing for its decisions. The Legal Service Authority Act of 1987 granted the Lok Adalat statutory standing in response to its rising popularity.
Lok Adalat Jurisdiction
Any issue that is currently proceeding in court and any topic that is subject to a court’s jurisdiction but is not presented before that court are examples of areas in which a Lok Adalat has the authority to decide and reach a resolution between the parties to a dispute.
If the parties to a case agree to resolve their differences in Lok Adalats and one of the parties files an application with the court to refer the case to the Lok Adalat, the case may be sent to the Lok Adalat for resolution. The matter is proper for the Lok Adalat to take cognizance of, the court is convinced. Upon receiving a request from one of the parties to the dispute, the organisation overseeing the Lok Adalats may refer the matter in the instance of a pre-litigation dispute.
The numerous issues, including matrimonial/family conflicts, criminal (compoundable offences) cases, land acquisition lawsuits, labour disputes, bank recovery cases, etc. The Lok Adalat has no authority over offences that aren’t punishable by compounding under any legislation.
Also Read: Subordinate Courts
Lok Adalat Compositions
Lok Adalats may be scheduled at whatever intervals and locations the State/District Legal Services Authority, the Supreme Court/High Court/Taluk Legal Services Committee, or both deem appropriate. Every Lok Adalat held for a certain area shall have the amount of active or retired judges and other local residents that the organisation hosting the Lok Adalat may specify.
Members of the Lok Adalats are the people who decide the cases in the Lok Adalats. They solely act as statutory mediators. They play no judicial function.
Lok Adalats have been accorded legislative status by the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987.
The Lok Adalat decision is final and enforceable for all parties under the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987 and is treated as the judgement of a civil court.
There is no provision for an appeal of the Lok Adalat ruling. Despite the lack of an appeals process, the parties are allowed to start a lawsuit if they are not happy with the Lok Adalat’s decision.
When a matter is brought before a Lok Adalat, there is no court fee due. The court money initially paid in the court on the petition is also given back to the parties if a legal dispute that is unresolved is referred to the Lok Adalat and resolved subsequently.
The Lok Adalat will not resolve the aforementioned dispute on its own initiative; rather, it will be resolved based on a compromise reached by the parties. The participants will support the parties’ efforts to amicably resolve their conflict in a sovereign and unbiased manner.
Also Read: Gram Nyayalayas
Lok Adalat Types
National Lok Adalat
Lok adalats are held throughout the nation on a single day, with national lok adalats occurring at regular intervals. Every month since 2015, a national Lok Adalat has been held on a certain topic.
Permanent Lok Adalat
In order to allow for the creation of Permanent Lok Adalats to deal with matters concerning public utility services like transit, telegraph, etc., the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was revised in 2002. Two other individuals with sufficient experience in public utility services, as well as a district judge or additional district judge who is or has been a district judge or has held a judicial post higher in rank than that of the district judge, will serve as its chairpersons.
Any circumstance involving an offence that is not punishable by law is outside the scope of its jurisdiction. The decisions of the Permanent Lok Adalat are final and enforceable against all parties.
Mobile Lok Adalat
Additionally, mobile Lok Adalats are organised across the nation. In order to facilitate the process of settling disputes, it transfers from one location to another.
Lok Adalat Importance
In taluka and district courts, three to five year old cases make up 16.9% of all cases. the National Judicial Data Grid as a source Over 20.4% of all cases in high courts are older than 10 years, with 17% being older than 10 years.
Over 57 lakh cases are waiting before various High Courts, 66,000 cases are pending before the SC, and more than 3 crore cases are pending before various subordinate and district courts. Due to the fact that Lok Adalats are a party-driven process that enables them to reach an agreeable settlement, litigants are compelled to participate in them.
Lok Adalat Benefits
Lok Adalats provide speedy resolution for the parties, and the majority of cases are resolved in a single day. The Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and the Code of Civil Procedure, both from 1908, do not have a rigid applicability. The flexibility is why the Lok Adalats move quickly.
Following the filing of a joint compromise petition, the Lok Adalat’s verdict has the same legal standing as a civil court judgement. The verdict has legal force. If the case is resolved at Lok Adalat, there is no court charge, and if one has been paid, the money will be returned.
Lok Adalat Concern Associated
The bulk of the time, wealthy parties like banks, insurance firms, and utility boards are pitted against the plaintiffs in court. The impoverished are typically forced to make sacrifices and frequently have no choice but to do so.
Given that compromise is at the core of its philosophy, there is fear that in the effort to resolve cases quickly, the concept of justice may be compromised. In State of Punjab v. Jalour Singh (2008), it was decided that a Lok Adalat’s sole purpose is to mediate disputes and that it has no judicial or adjudicative powers.
Lok Adalat UPSC
If people are willing and aware of its benefits, Lok Adalats can function at higher levels. In addition, permanent lok adalats need to be strengthened and given more creative uses so that they can serve as an additional form of litigation for those who cannot or shouldn’t use the courts. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.