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Lok Adalat: An Overview


ADR was an important part of our culture. Unlike the nil, the Lok Adalat principle (Peoples' Court) is a groundbreaking Indian contribution to global jurisprudence. Like the very name suggests, the institution of Lok Adalat in India means, People's Court. "Lok" means "people" and the vernacular meaning of "Adalat" means the court. India has a long tradition and history of practicing such methods at grass-roots level within society. These are called panchayat and are called arbitration in the legal terminology. These are commonly used to settle conflicts in India? both commercial and non-commercial. Other alternative methods getting used are Lok Adalat (People's Court), where justice is dispensed summarily without an excessive amount of emphasis on legal technicalities. It proved to be a very efficient alternative to litigation.

The ancient concept of mediated dispute settlement, Negotiations or arbitral trials known as the "Peoples' Court Ruling" or "Nyaya-Panch" Decision are conceptualized and institutionalized in Lok Adalat's philosophy. Some people equate Lok Adalat with conciliation or mediation, while others treat it with arbitration and negotiations. Those who find it different from all of these, call it "Court of the People" It involves persons directly or indirectly affected by the resolution of disputes. Participation, accommodation, fairness, expectation, voluntariness, neighborliness, transparency, efficiency and lack of animosity are the key features of this form of dispute resolution.

In the last few centuries, before independence and particularly during the British regime, the idea of Lok Adalats was pushed back into oblivion. Now, this concept has rejuvenated, once again. It has become very common and familiar among litigants, once again. This is the system that has deep roots in Indian legal history, and its close allegiance to Indian ethos culture and perception of justice. Experience has demonstrated that it is one of the most effective and important ADRs and best suited to the Indian environment , culture and societal interests.

Lok Adalats camps were initially started in Gujarat in March 1982, and are now extended across the country.

The movement 's growth was part of the strategy to relieve the heavy strain on the courts of pending litigation and to provide relief to the litigants who were in a line to get justice. The first Lok Adalat was held in Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, on March 14, 1982 at Junagarh. Lok Adalats was very active in settling car accident lawsuits, marriage / family disputes, labor disputes, public service disputes such as telephone, power, bank recovery cases, etc.

Laws and regulations concerning Lok Adalats

The advent of the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987 gave Lok Adalats a statutory status pursuant to the constitutional mandate provided for in Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution, containing various provisions for the settlement of disputes through Lok Adalat. It is a law to create legal services authorities to provide free and qualified legal services to the poorer sections of society to ensure that opportunities to achieve justice are not denied to any person on account of economic or other disabilities, and to organise Lok Adalats to achieve that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunities. Even before the enforcement of the Act, as the very name signifies, the concept of Lok Adalat was gaining broad acceptance as People's Courts. Since ancient times the settlement of disputes at the hands of Panchayat Heads or tribal heads was in vogue. When Lok Adalat had received statutory recognition, It was specifically provided that the award passed by Lok Adalat setting out the terms of the compromise would have the force of a court decree that could be executed as a civil court decree.

  • Introduction
  • History
  • Laws and regulations concerning Lok Adalat

BY : Sunaina Jain

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