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Lok Adalats

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Alternative Judicial System


Source: The Hindu

Context: Over 450 prisoners have walked free in Chhattisgarh after Lok Adalats were set up in jails across the State.


About the initiative:

  • Lok Adalats in Jail will be held every working Saturday and provide relief to undertrials, and in some cases convicted prisoners, by explaining their rights and legal options such as plea bargaining and settlement.
  • It is a first-of-its-kind initiative anywhere in India.
  • It will help reduce jail congestion: There are over 20,000 prisoners lodged in various jails in Chhattisgarh, against a sanctioned capacity of 14,000


Lok Adalat:

  • It means ‘People’s Court’ and is based on Gandhian principles.
  • It is one of the components of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system and delivers informal, cheap and expeditious justice to the common people.
  • The first Lok Adalat camp was organized in Gujarat in 1982 as a voluntary and conciliatory agency.
  • It was given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.


Function of Lok Adalat:

  • Provide relief to undertrials and in some cases convicted prisoners: By explaining their rights and legal options such as plea bargaining and settlement.



  • Swift disposal of cases
  • Reduce the congestion in various jails


Who is eligible?

  • All undertrials: named in offences in the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC) heard by a judicial magistrate, such as:
    • Petty theft, house trespass, and cheating
  • Those arrested under preventive provisions: For offences such as:
    • Brawl or violation of special laws such as the Excise Act or Railways Act.


How does Lok Adalats function?


Article 39A: It provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity


Insta Links:


Mains Links:

Q. What are the major changes brought in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the recent Ordinance promulgated by the President? How far will it improve India’s dispute resolution mechanism? Discuss. (UPSC 2015)


Prelims Links:

  • Article 39A
  • Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987

With reference to Lok Adalat, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a constitutional body under article 39A.
  2. The first Lok Adalat was organized in Chhattisgarh.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2



Refer to the article above