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Like the zero, the concept of Lok Adalat Peoples' Court is an innovative Indian contribution to the world jurisprudence.
India has a long tradition and history of such methods being practiced in the society at grass roots level. These are called panchayat and in the legal terminology, these are called arbitration. These are widely used in India for resolution of disputes?
Other alternative methods being used are Lok Adalat People's Courtwhere justice is dispensed summarily without too much emphasis on legal technicalities. It has been proved to be a very effective alternative to litigation. The ancient concept of settlement of dispute through mediation, negotiation or through arbitral process known as "Peoples' Court verdict" or decision of "Nyaya-Panch" is conceptualized and institutionalized in the philosophy of Lok Adalat.
Some people equate Lok Adalat to conciliation or mediation, some treat it with negotiations and arbitration. Those who find it different from all these, call it "Peoples' Court".
It involves people who are directly or indirectly affected by dispute resolution. The salient features of this form of dispute resolution are participation, accommodation, fairness, expectation, voluntariness, neighbourliness, transparency, efficiency and lack of animosity.
The concept of Lok Adalats was pushed back into oblivion in last few centuries before independence and particularly during the British regime.
Now, this concept has, once again, been rejuvenated. It has, once again, become very popular and familiar amongst litigants. This is the system which has deep roots in Indian legal history and its close allegiance to the culture and perception of justice in Indian ethos.
Experience has shown that it is one of the very efficient and important ADRs and most suited to the Indian environment, culture and societal interests. Camps of Lok Adalats were started initially in Gujarat in March and now it has been extended throughout the Country.
The evolution of this movement was a part of the strategy to relieve heavy burden on the Courts with pending cases and to give relief to the litigants who were in a queue to get justice.
Some statistics may give us a feeling of tremendous satisfaction and encouragement. Up to the middle of last yearmore thanLok Adalats have been held and therein more than16 million cases have been settled, half of which were motor accident claim cases.
More than one billion US dollars were distributed by way of compensation to those who had suffered accidents. The Statistics of the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority as to the number of cases disposed, the amount of compensation paid etc have been annexed herewith.
Legislation pertaining to Lok Adalats The advent of Legal Services Authorities Act, gave a statutory status to Lok Adalats, pursuant to the constitutional mandate in Article A of the Constitution of India, contains various provisions for settlement of disputes through Lok Adalat.
It is an Act to constitute legal services authorities to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity.
Even before the enforcement of the Act, the concept of Lok Adalat has been getting wide acceptance as People's Courts as the very name signifies.
Settlement of disputes at the hands of Panchayat Heads or tribal heads was in vogue since ancient times. When statutory recognition had been given to Lok Adalat, it was specifically provided that the award passed by the Lok Adalat formulating the terms of compromise will have the force of decree of a court which can be executed as a civil court decree.
Procedure at Lok Adalat: The procedure followed at a Lok Adalat is very simple and shorn of almost all legal formalism and rituals.
The Lok Adalat is presided over by a sitting or retired judicial officer as the chairman, with two other members, usually a lawyer and a social worker. It is revealed by experience that in Lok Adalats it is easier to settle money claims since in most such cases the quantum alone may be in dispute.
Thus the motor accident compensation claim cases are brought before the Lok Adalat and a number of cases were disposed of in each Lok Adalat.
One important condition is that both parties in dispute should agree for settlement through Lok Adalat and abide by its decision. A Lok Adalat has the jurisdiction to settle, by way of effecting compromise between the parties, any matter which may be pending before any court, as well as matters at pre-litigative stage i.
Such matters may be civil or criminal in nature, but any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under any law cannot be decided by the Lok Adalat even if the parties involved therein agree to settle the same.
Lok Adalats can take cognizance of matters involving not only those persons who are entitled to avail free legal services but of all other persons also, be they women, men, or children and even institutions. Anyone, or more of the parties to a dispute can move an application to the court where their matter may be pending, or even at pre-litigative stage, for such matter being taken up in the Lok Adalat whereupon the Lok Adalat Bench constituted for the purpose shall attempt to resolve the dispute by helping the parties to arrive at an amicable solution and once it is successful in doing so, the award passed by it shall be final which has as much force as a decree of a Civil Court obtained after due contest.
Finality of Lok Adalat award: One issue which raises its head often is the finality of the award of the Lok Adalat. During the Lok Adalat, the parties agree to abide by the decision of the judge at the Lok Adalat. However, it is often seen that later, the same order is challenged on several grounds.
In one of the recent decisions, the Supreme Court of India has once again laid to rest all such doubts. In unequivocal terms, the Court has held that award of the Lok Adalat is as good as the decree of a Court.Essay on Lok Adalats in India ( Words)| LAW.
On the criminal side, the offences compoundable under Section (1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are disposed of by the Lok Adalat through a compromise between the parties.
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Lok Adalat ARBITRATION:() Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons – arbitrators, by whose decision they agree to be bound.
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However, the Legal Services Authorities Act, , as amended by the Amending Act of now enables parties to file their case in Lok Adalat directly, if they so desire. In Madhya Pradesh, the first Lok Adalat was held at Bilaspur on April 13, and out of the total cases disposed of by this Adalat as many as were criminal cases.