Monday, September 21, 2009

What is Lok Adalat?

1.       It is a judicial institution developed by the people themselves for social justice.
2.       It settles litigation by negotiation, arbitration or conciliation.
3.       It is a dispute settlement agency.
4.       Lok Adalats are not alternative to the existing courts. They are only supplementary to the courts.

Why Lok Adalats?

1.       Judicial justice is much despised in our country by the common man because of the ruinous cost of litigation, far too technical legal process, prolonged litigation and inordinate delay in disposal of cases.
2.       This form of redressal is needed for enabling the common people to ventilate their grievances against the state agencies or against other citizens and to seek a just settlement if possible.
3.       There are certain definite advantages of this institution.
4.       The parties are saved from extremely technical court procedures, which are followed in a regular court.
5.       They are saved from protracted litigation, anxiety, bitterness apart from the saving of expenses of court fees and other expenses, which they are likely to incur in future litigations by way of further appeal etc.
6.       The organization of Lok Adalat is informal and flexible. Apart from some minimum requirements in respect of procedures and approaches, the rest of the exercise is simple and varied as the nature of the problems and the culture of the community demand.
7.       The following types of cases can be brought before the Lok Adalats;
  1. Pre-litigation cases i.e. the disputes, which have not yet gone to the law courts.
  2. Pending cases i.e. the disputes, which have already gone to the law courts.
Since April 1985, Lok Adalats have been exclusively organized for settlement of motor third party claims. Although the concept of Lok Adalat was very much vogue since early years. This form was made available for settlement of Motor Third Party claims under the initiative of former Chief Justice of India, Shir P.N.Bhagwati, since then number of lok Adalats have been organized throughout the Country through this forum to the satisfaction of the claimants. It is expected to gather further momentum for settlement of these claims through this medium as both claimants do and the Insurance Company get benefit out of it.
That is the reason why Insurance Companies are interested in settling Third Party claims by Lok Adalats. The increase in cases in Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) and backlog of pending cases pressed the insurer and the judicial system to think about the quick disposal oriented system like Lok Adalat/Conciliatory forums should be utilized to optimum level.
Lok Adalat now is playing sole role in solving disputes and settling MACT cases. It has become a Dispute Management Institution. It is an informal system of dispute resolution. This is the expeditious method to settle large number of MACT claims. It is the best provisions by the effort of judiciary. Disposal through Lok Adalat is the only panacea for controlling the arrears of cases. Insurance Company can save additional interest. This is the simplest method, which is devoid of procedural wrangles of regular trial. According to Legal Services Authorities (Amendment) Act 1994 effective from 09-11-1995 has since been passed, Lok Adalat settlement is no longer a voluntary concept. By this Act Lok Adalat has got statutory character and has been legally recognized.

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