Lok- Adalats are setup with the support of local reputed person, police, public representatives etc. In the presence of these people, small disputes are heard and settlement is reached. A number of public grievances and complaints are collected in detail.
They are channelised for solutions through IHRA. Helpline Centers to have been opened to take in the complaints from any end of the country.
Organisation of Lok Adalats
- Every State Authority or District Authority or the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee or every High Court Legal Services Committee or, as the case may be, Taluk Legal Services Committee may organise Lok Adalats at such intervals and places and for exercising such jurisdiction and for such areas as it thinks fit.
- Every Lok Adalat organised for an area shall consist of such number of -
- serving or retired judicial officers; and
- other persons,
- The experience and qualifications of other persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) for Lok Adalats organised by the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
- The experience and qualifications of other persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) for Lok Adalats other than referred to in sub-section (3) shall be such as may be prescribed by the State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
- A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of -
- any case pending before; or
- any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any court for which the Lok Adalat is organised:
- Provided that the Lok Adalat shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any case or matter relating to an offence not compoundable under any law.
Cognizance of cases by Lok Adalats
- Where in any case referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (5) of Section 19-
- (a) the parties thereof agree; or (b) one of the parties thereof makes an application to the court, for referring the case to the Lok Adalat for settlement and if such court is prima facie satisfied that there are chances of such settlement; or
- the court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one to be taken cognizance of by the Lok Adalat, the court shall refer the case to the Lok Adalat: Provided that no case shall be referred to the Lok Adalat under sub-clause (b) of clause ( i) or clause (ii) by such court except after giving a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the parties.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Authority or Committee organising the Lok Adalat under sub-section (1) of Section 19 may, on receipt of an application from any, one of the parties to any matter referred to in clause (ii) of sub-section (5) of Section 19 that such matter needs to be determined by a Lok Adalat, refer such matter to the Lok Adalat, for determination:
- Provided that no matter shall be referred to the Lok Adalat except after giving a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the other party.
- Where any case is referred to a Lok Adalat under sub-section (1) or where a reference has been made to it under sub-section (2), the Lok Adalat shall proceed to dispose of the case or matter and arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties.
- Every Lok Adalat shall, while determining any reference before it under this Act, act with utmost expedition to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties and shall be guided by the principles of Justice, equity, fair play and other legal principles.
- Where no award is made by the Lok Adalat on the ground that no compromise or settlement could be arrived at between the parties, the record of the case shall be returned by it to the court, from which the reference has been received under sub-section (1) for disposal in accordance with law.
- Where no award is made by the Lok Adalat on the ground that no compromise or settlement could be arrived at between the parties, in a matter referred to in sub-section (2), that Lok Adalat shall advice the parties to seek remedy in a court.
- Where the record of the case is returned under sub-section (5) to the court, such court shall proceed to deal such reference under sub-section (1).
Award of Lok Adalat
- Every award of the Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court or, as the case may be, an order of any other court and where a compromise or settlement has been arrived at, by a Lok Adalat in a case referred to it under sub-section (1) of Section 20, the court-fee paid in such case shall be refunded in the manner provided under the Court Fees Act, 1870 (7 of 1870).
- Every award made by a Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute, and no appeal shall lie to any court against the award.
Powers of Lok Adalats
- The Lok Adalat shall, for the purposes of holding any determination under this Act,
have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 (5 of 1908), while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:-
- the summoning and enforcing the attendance of any witness and examining him on oath;
- the discovery and production of any document;
- the reception of evidence on affidavits;
- the requisitioning of any public record or document or copy of such record or document from any court or office; and
- such other matters as may be prescribed.
- Without prejudice to the generality of the powers contained in sub-section(1), every Lok Adalat shall have the requisite powers to specify its own procedure for the determination of any dispute coming before it.
- All proceedings before a Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of Sections 193, 219 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) and every Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purpose of Section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(2 of 1974).