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Lok Adalat held online

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Lok Adalat held online:


Context:

In a first of its kind in the country, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) recently organized the e-lok Adalat to facilitate mediation between the parties, who are willing to get their matters settled amicably, in all the District Courts Complexes of Delhi.

How it was conducted?

In the e-Lok Adalat, an online link would be sent by SAMA (an Online Dispute Resolution platform recognized by Department of Justice for resolving disputes through video conferencing) to the concerned parties and a judge would preside over the mediation process.

Following the settlement, an OTP would be sent to them and on confirmation, the dispute would be settled.

Outcomes:

77 Benches were constituted wherein total 5838 cases were disposed of pertaining to various categories in which settlement amount was approx Rs 46.28 crores.

What is a Lok Adalat?

Lok Adalat is one of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms, it is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/ compromised amicably.

The Lok Adalats are formed to fulfil the promise given by the preamble of the Indian Constitution– securing Justice – social, economic and political of every citizen of India.

 Constitutional basis:

Article 39A of the Constitution provides for free legal aid to the deprived and weaker sections of the society and to promote justice on the base of equal opportunity.

Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it compulsory for the State to guarantee equality before the law.

Statutory provisions:

Under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 Lok Adalats have been given statutory status.

Final award:

The decision made by the Lok Adalats is considered to be a verdict of a civil court and is ultimate and binding on all parties.

No appeal:

There is no provision for an appeal against the verdict made by Lok Adalat.

But, they are free to initiate litigation by approaching the court of appropriate jurisdiction by filing a case by following the required procedure, in exercise of their right to litigate.

Court fee:

There is no court fee payable when a matter is filed in a Lok Adalat. If a matter pending in the court of law is referred to the Lok Adalat and is settled subsequently, the court fee originally paid in the court on the complaints/petition is also refunded back to the parties.

Nature of Cases to be Referred to Lok Adalat:

  1. Any case pending before any court.
  2. Any dispute which has not been brought before any court and is likely to be filed before the court.

Provided that any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under the law shall not be settled in Lok Adalat.

Levels and Composition of Lok Adalats:

Please go through: https://nalsa.gov.in/lok-adalat.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who organises National Lok Adalat?
  2. What are Permanent Lok Adalats?
  3. Composition of Lok Adalats.
  4. Nature of cases to be referred to Lok Adalat.
  5. Article 39A of the Constitution.
  6. Decisions made by Lok Adalats- are they binding?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Lok Adalats as an effective dispute resolution institution in present scenario.

Sources: the Hindu.