Q9 PERMANENT LOK ADALAT FOR PUBLIC UTILITY SERVICES

In order to get over the major drawback in the existing scheme of organisation of Lok Adalats under Chapter VI of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987, in which if the parties do not arrive at any compromise or settlement, the unsettled case is either returned to the back to the court or the parties are advised to seek remedy in a court of law, which causes unnecessary delay in dispensation of justice, Chapter VI A was introduced in the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, by Act No.37/2002 with effect from 11-06-2002 providing for a Permanent Lok Adalat to deal with pre-litigation, conciliation and settlement of disputes relating to Public Utility Services, as defined u/sec.22 A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, at the pre-litigation stage itself, which would result in reducing the workload of the regular courts to a great extent. Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services, Hyderabad, India

The Lok Adalat is presided over by a sitting or retired judicial officer as the chairman, with two other members, usually a lawyer and a social worker. There is no court fee. If the case is already filed in the regular court, the fee paid will be refunded if the dispute is settled at the Lok Adalat. The procedural laws and the Evidence Act are not strictly followed while assessing the merits of the claim by the Lok Adalat.

Main condition of the Lok Adalat is that both parties in dispute should agree for settlement. The decision of the Lok Adalat is binding on the parties to the dispute and its order is capable of execution through the legal process. No appeal lies against the order of the Lok Adalat.

Lok Adalat is very effective in settlement of money claims. Disputes like partition suits, damages and matrimonial cases can also be easily settled before Lok Adalat as the scope for compromise through an approach of give and take is high in these cases.

Lok Adalat is a boon to the litigant public, where they can get their disputes settled fast and free of cost.

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