The concept of Lok Adalats is a one of a great contribution made by the Indian legal system to the field of international legal jurisprudence. It is a system of justice administration that has mainly succeeded in providing litigants with an additional forum for the determination and settlement of disputes. It was developed on the basis of Gandhian ideas, and it is now regulated in Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as a substantial aid to the judiciary.
These Lok Adalats now have a statutory status, thanks to the passage of the Legal Services Authority Act in 1987, which supports the constitutional mandate of Article 39-A of the Constitution of India, which directs the state to organise Lok Adalats in order to ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity. These Lok Adalats give three-fold benefits, including the expeditious resolution of disputes, the reduction of litigation expenses, and the avoidance of further appeals, making them the ideal instrument to alleviate the increased strain placed on the judiciary for disposing of cases. According to the National Lok Adalat, over 47 lakh cases were disposed of in 2018 alone, which includes approximately 21 lakh outstanding cases and 26 lakh pre-litigation cases. As a result, their effectiveness has been a critical factor in minimising excessive litigation.
The effectiveness of Lok Adalats can be attributed to a number of advantages that it enjoys over traditional courts of law. These aspects are responsible for the company's ability to resolve a variety of conflicts quickly. They are as follows:
1. When a matter is filed before a Lok Adalat, there are no court fees to pay. A issue pending in the court of law that is referred to the Lok Adalat and subsequently settled will also be reimbursed back to the parties who had initially paid a court fee on the complaints or petition.
2. In Lok Adalats, the primary focus is on reaching a consensus among political parties. A Lok Adalat, rather than acting as an arbitrator, serves as a conciliator during the course of the proceedings. Its purpose is to convince the parties to come to an agreement and assist them in
harmonising their competing positions. Agreements reached through negotiation are encouraged. It is possible to maintain cordial relations between parties as a result of this method of settling disagreements. Because of this, it is an extremely healthy method of conflict resolution.
POINTS TO THINK UPON
1.The awards passed by the Lok Adalats are considered to be similar to civil court judgments. The Lok Adalats, on the other hand, are unable to carry out the enforcement of these judgments on their own. The civil courts have jurisdiction over this function, thus the parties must file an application for enforcement in order to have the award carried out. So my recommendation will be that this power of enforcement should be given to the Lok Adalats themselves in order to ensure that the judgments taken are carried out to their conclusion.
2.It has been established that Lok Adalats have jurisdiction over criminal issues only in the case of offences that are compoundable under law. The removal of petty theft and other minor offences from the scope of Lok Adalats is a significant step forward. As a result, this should be reconsidered in order to bring petty offences under the jurisdiction of Lok Adalats.
When a case is goes to Lok Adalat, the matter will be resolved at a lower cost and in a shorter period of time, which means that there is a high chance of receiving less compensation and that the parties will not have enough time to claim a higher amount of compensation because it will take more time than he would have been entitled to under the circumstances. However, if the matter has been brought to the court, the chances of receiving greater compensation are much better than if it had been handled before Lok Adalat alone. Following a slew of similar cases, the Supreme Court directed Lok Adalat to investigate these problems and to exercise caution when administering justice, keeping in mind that the rights of any party involved must not be jeopardised. We've all know the expression "justice delayed is justice denied," but we've also heard that "justice hastened is justice buried." The price of unfair arrangements and injustice should not be the ease and speed with which justice is delivered.
Every type of case is ineligible for consideration in Lok Adalat. Lok Adalat has exclusive jurisdiction over a narrow range of issues. The majority of the time in Lok Adalat, compromise and settlement are reached, which is not always necessary in every situation. Many cases in India must be dealt with by punishment-based and correctional procedures, which cannot be dealt with in Lok Adalat because of the nature of the cases. The Lok Adalat will be unable to provide justice in these types of circumstances, and the case will be referred to the court for adjudication instead. In some cases, legal actions are required to be started as soon as possible, and this will result in unnecessary hassle and additional delay.
In recent years, Lok Adalats have grown to be a vital feature of the Indian judicial system, serving as portals for the destitute and underprivileged to gain access to the justice system. Although they have closed the gap between themselves and legal assistance, there are still several areas where they can improve in order to raise their efficiency even further. However, while they are doing a good job at bridging the gap between "access" to justice and "justice," it is necessary to evaluate their effectiveness in providing injured people with actual "justice." Finally, it is possible to infer that there is more than meets the eye that can be done to improve Lok Adalats as a redress system in the face of increasing litigation.
-By Siddharth Kumar
Symbiosis Law School Pune