Karnataka State Legal Services Authority

Lok Adalat

Under section 7, Section 10 and Section 11(A) of Legal Services Authority Act, it is one of the functions of State Legal Services Authority, District Legal Services Authority and Taluka Legal Services  Committee to organize Lok Adalats. Under Regulation 10 of Karnataka State Legal Services  Regulations 1997 it is one of the functions of the High Court Legal Services  Authority to organize Lok Adalats.

Lok Adalats can be organized for exercising :
  1. such jurisdiction and
  2. for such areas as State Legal Services  Authority, District Legal Services  Authority and Taluk Legal Services  Committee thinks fit.

Considering the various provisions of Legal Services  Authority Act, State Level Lok Adalat for settelemtn of cases pending before any Court/s in the State, District Level Lok Adalat for the cases pending before any Court/s in the District and Taluka Level Lok Adalat for settlement of case before any Court/s in Taluka can be organized.  State Legal Services Authority, District Legal Services  Authority and Taluka Legal Services  Committee may organize Lok Adalats at such intervals and place for exercising particular kind of jurisdiction. For example a Lok Adalat can be organized for exclusively exercising the jurisdiction of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Reference Court under Land Acquisition Act etc.,
The Secretary of the State Legal Services  Authority, High Court Legal Services Committee, District Legal Services  Authorities, Taluka Legal Services  Committees has to issue a Notification of organization of Lok Adalat with following information:

  1. The place and the date on which Lok Adalat is proposed to be organized.
  2. Category and nature of cases viz., pending or pre-litigation disputes proposed to be placed before Lok Adalat :
  3. Number of Cases proposed to be brought before the Lok Adalat in each category :
  4. Any other information relevant to the convening and organizing the Lok Adalat.

COMPOSITION OF THE LOK ADALAT:

Every Lok Adalat organized for an area shall consist of such number of :-

  1. serving or retired Judicial Officers AND
  2. other persons.

of the area as may be specified by the Authority/Committee.

It is mandatory that Lok Adalat must consist of serving or retired Judicial Officer/s and Other Person/s. Some time Lok Adalat are organized consisting of two Judicial Officers only, which is not not-permissible.  Inclusion of serving or retired Judicial Officer/s as a Member of Lok Adalat will help the parties to know, understand and assess the legal issues involved in the case and assist them in settlement of the matter.

As per Rule 12 of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority Rules a person shall not be qualified to become a member of Lok Adalat unless he is :

  1. an eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, women, children, rural and urban labour, or
  2. an advocate of standing or a person of repute who is specifically interested in implementation of legal service schemes and programmes.

As per Regulation 14 of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Regulations, 1997 :

  1. an eminent social worker or
  2. an advocate of standing or
  3. A person of repute, who is specifically interested in implementation of legal service schemes and programmes to be nominated by the District Authority Chairman as Member of Lok Adalat.

 

In many cases referred to Lok Adalat, matter regarding environment, global warming, information technology and other scientific issues may be a subject matter of case for settlement.  To assist the parties to arrive at settlement and compromise it is necessary that the Member of the Lok Adalat are conversant with such subject.  In such matter it may be appropriate to appoint persons dealing with and having sufficient experience in such subjects.  So it is not always necessary that only Advocates or particular category of persons are always appoint as Member of Lok Adalat.

It is also necessary to train the both Judicial and Non-judicial members of Lok Adalat in skills of cancellation and Mediation for effective functioning of the Lok Adalat.

CASES THAT CAN BE REFERRED TO LOK ADALAT

            Any cases pending before a Court or any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of a court and not brought before any court (Pre-litigation) for which the Lok Adalat is organized may be referred to Lok Adalat.

            Existence of ‘dispute’ is sine quo non. When allegation in the plaint are admitted in written statement, reference of such case to Lok Adalat amounts to abdication of jurisdiction by the Court. (AIR 2003 Kar 242 Basamma petitioner Vs. Taluka Legal Services Committee). Considering the law laid down in this case it may not be proper to refer the case under Section 13 B of Hindu Marriage Act and such other matters where there is no ‘dispute’.

            The Lok Adalat shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any case or matter relating to an offence not compoundable under any law.

            A case or matter can be referred to Lok Adalat when

  1. the parties thereof agree ; or
  2. 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 settlement; or
  3. the Court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one to be taken cognizance of by the Lok Adalat;

Providing that no case shall be referred to Lok Adalat except after giving a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the parties.

Court can suo-motto or at the request of one of the parties may refer the case to Lok Adalat, provided that it is done after giving a hearing to all the parties and it is satisfied that there are chances of settlement or that the case is fit one to be taken cognizance by the Lok Adalat (AIR 2002 (KARNATAKA) 3666 H.V. Venkatesh Vs. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.,).
No matter shall be referred to pre-litigation Lok Adalat except after giving reasonable opportunity of being heard to either party.
Lok Adalat has no power to perform judicial function of adjudication of the matter and has no power to issue direction or order to the parties. If such powers are exercised the same may drive people way from Lok Adalat. (A.I.R. 2008 (Supreme Court) 1209 State of Punjab and others V/s Jalour Singh)
In Lok Adalat a case or matter has to be disposed off by compromise or settlement between the parties. The power of disposal of cases by Lok Adalat is limited to the cases where the matter can be disposed off by way of settlement or compromise. “Compromise” means mutual adjustment. “Settlement” means termination of legal proceedings with consent of both parties. (AIR 2006 SC 3089 – State of Punjab & Others vs. Ganapath Raj).
Lok Adalat can pass orders only when there is compromise between parties. Lok Adalat cannot issue directions or adjudicate the dispute (AIR 2007 SC 1561 – Union of India Vs. Ananto).
Lok Adalat while determining any reference before it shall be guided by the principles of justice, equity, fair play and other legal principles. Lok Adalat or permanent Lok Adalat shall, for the purpose of holding any determination under the Legal Services Authority Act, have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court, for the purpose of settlement or compromise, under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, while trying a suit in respect of the following matters.

  1. the summoning and enforcing the attendance of any witness and examining him on oath;
  2. the discovery and production of any document’
  3. the reception of evidence on affidavits;
  4. the requisitioning of any public record or document or copy of such record or document from any Court or office ; and
  5. such other matters as may be prescribed.

It may be noted that in Karnataka State Legal Services Authority Rules, no rules are enacted prescribing “such other matters”.

These powers can be exercised only for the purpose of assisting or helping the parties to arrive at settlement or compromise the matter before the Lok Adalat.

Without prejudice to the generality of the powers, every Lok Adalat or Permanent Lok Adalat shall have the requisite powers to specify its own procedure for the determination of any dispute coming before it.

PRE-LITIGATION MATTERS


Pre-litigation petition dealt with by the Lok Adalats shall be matters falling with the jurisdiction of any court (but not brought before the court) for which the Lok Adalat is organized. In order words, the Pre-litigation matters taken up by the Lok Adalat must arise from within the territorial jurisdiction of a court for which the Lok Adalat is organized.

When a Pre-litigation matter is received by the Authority/Committee, it is imperative that the Authority/Committee give notice to the opposite party and a reasonable opportunity of being heard is given to such party.

It may be noted that non-compliance of the procedure prescribed in Section (20) of the Act for cognizance of cases by Lok Adalat may, if challenged under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, result in setting aside the awards for want of procedural non-compliance.

AWARD


Drawing up of the award is merely an administrative act of incorporating the terms of settlement or compromise agreed by parties with guidance and assistance from the Lok Adalat.
The compromise or settlement so drawn up may be reduced into writing.  When both parties sign/affix their thumb impression and the members of the Lok Adalat countersign it, it becomes an Award. Every Award of the Lok Adalat shall be categorical and lucid and shall be written in regional language used in the local Courts or in English.

The Lok Adalat shall not pass any other “orders” or “directions” or grant any relief’s, apart from passing an award in the manner as stated above.
The original Award shall form part of the judicial records and a copy of the Award shall be given to each of the parties (duly certifying them to be true by the Secretary of the High Court Legal Services Committee or the District Legal Services  Authority or the Chairman of Taluka Legal Services  Committees, as the case may be and they are authorized to sign the true copies of the award) free of Cost. The official seal of the Authority/Committee shall be affixed on the Awards.

 

Site Designed & Hosted by
National Informatics Centre, Karnataka
NIC, Karnataka
India Portal
India Portal

Content Provided By
Karnataka State Legal Services Authority,

Nyaya Degula Building, 1st Floor, H.Siddaiah Road, Bengaluru-560027
Fax : 080-22112935 Ph. No. 22111729, 22111875, 22111716 , 22111714
Email : karslsa[at]gmail[dot]com
Last Updated: 11/05/2017 No. of Visits:148328 (since 31/07/2013)

Disclaimer: The content of these websites are owned by the respective organizations and they may be contacted for any further information or suggestion