The word Lok-Adalat means People's Court. Lok-Adalat is another alternative to Judicial Justice. It is One of the Component of ADR system. The Legal services Authorities Act, 1987 makes provisions in Relation to the establishment, powers and Functions of the Lok-Adalat.

I) Permanent Lok-Adalat :

       Permanent Lok-Adalat is Permanent, It is permanent in nature. Any Party to a dispute may make an application to the Permanent Lok-Adalat for settlement of the dispute before the dispute is brought before any Court. Permanent Adalat has jurisdiction in respect of one or more public utility services as defined in clause (b) of Section 22A. [Legal services Authority (Amendment) Act, 2002].

II) Establishment of Permanent Lok-Adalat 

     Section 22B of the Legal services Authorities Act, 1987:

            1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 19, the Central Authority or, as the case may be, every State Authority shall, by notification, establish Permanent Lok-Adalat at such places and for exercising such jurisdiction in respect of one or more public utility services and for such areas as may be specified in the notification.

          2) Every Permanent Lok-Adalat established for an area notified under sub-section (1) shall consist of -
                   a) a person who is, or has been, a district judge or additional district judge or has held judicial office higher in rank than that of a district judge, shall be the Chairman of the Permanent Lok-Adalat; and

                   b) Two other persons having adequate experience in public utility services to be nominated by the Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government on the recommendation of the Central Authority or, as the case may, the State Authority, establishing such Permanent Lok-Adalat and the other terms and conditions of the appointment of the Chairman and other persons referred to in clause (b) shall be prescribed by the Central Government.

III) Cognizance of cases by Permanent Lok-Adalat (Section 22C)

   (1) Any party to a dispute may, before the dispute is brought before nay court, make an application to the Permanent Lok-Adalat for the settlement of dispute;

        Provided that the Permanent Lok-Adalat shall not have jurisdiction in respect of any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under any law; Provided further that the Permanent Lok-Adalat shall also not have jurisdiction in the matter where the value of the property in dispute exceeds ten lakh rupees;

        Provided also that the Central Government, may, by notification, increase the limit of ten lakh rupees specified in the second proviso in consultation with the Central Authority.

     (2) After an application is made under sub-section (1) to the Permanent Lok-Adalat, no party to that application shall invoke jurisdiction of any court in the same dispute.

     (3) where an application is made to a Permanent Lok-Adalat under sub-section (1), it

                  (a) shall direct each party to the application to file before it a written statement, stating therein the facts and nature of dispute under the application, points or issues in such dispute and grounds relied in support of, or in opposition to, such points or issues, as the case may be, and such party may supplement such statement with any document and other evidence which such party deems appropriate in proof of such facts and grounds and shall send a copy of such statement together with a copy of such document and other evidence, if any, to each of the parties to the applicant;

                   (b) may require any party to the application to file additional statement before it at any stage of the conciliation proceedings;

                   (c) shall communicate any document or statement received by it from any party to the application to the other party, to enable such other party to present reply thereto.

       (4) When statement, additional statement and reply, if any, have been filed under sub-section (3), to the satisfaction of the Permanent Lok-Adalat, it shall conduct conciliation proceedings between the parties to the application in such manner as it thinks appropriate taking into account the circumstance of the dispute.

       (5) The Permanent Lok-Adalat shall, during conduct of conciliation proceedings under sub-section (4), assist the parties in their attempt to reach an amicable settlement of the dispute in an independent and impartial manner.

       (6) It shall be the duty of every party to the application to cooperate in good faith with the Permanent Lok-Adalat in conciliation of the dispute relating to the application and to comply with the direction of the Permanent Lok-Adalat to produce evidence and other related documents before it.

       (7) When a Permanent Lok-Adalat, in the aforesaid conciliation proceedings, is of opinion that there exist elements of settlement in such proceedings which may be acceptable to the parties, it may formulate the term of a possible settlement of the dispute and give to the parties concerned for their observations and in case the parties reach at an agreement on the settlement or the dispute, they shall sign the settlement agreement and the Permanent Lok-Adalat shall pass an award in terms thereof and furnish a copy of the same to each of the parties concerned.

       (8) Where the parties fail to reach at an agreement under sub-section (7), the Permanent Lok-Adalat shall, if the dispute does not relate to any offence, decide the dispute.

 IV) Procedure of Permanent Lok-Adalat (Section 22D)  

        The Permanent Lok-Adalat shall, while conducting conciliation proceedings or deciding a dispute on merit under this Act, be guided by the principles of natural justice, objectivity fail play, equity and other principles of justice, and shall not be bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

V) Award of Permanent Lok-Adalat to be final (Section 22E) 

         (1) Every award of the Permanent Lok-Adalat under this Act made either on merit or in terms of a settlement agreement shall be final and binding on all the parties thereto and on persons claiming under them.

         (2) Every award of the Permanent Lok-Adalat under this Act shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court.

         (3) The award made by the Permanent Lok-Adalat under this Act shall be by a majority of the persons constituting the Permanent Lok-Adalat.

         (4) Every award made by the Permanent Lok-Adalat under this Act shall be final and shall not be called in question in any original suit, application or execution proceedings.

          (5) The Permanent Lok-Adalat may transmit any award made by it to a Civil Court having local Jurisdiction and such civil court shall execute the order as if it were a decree made by that court.

VI) Jurisdiction of Permanent Lok-Adalat : 

    Jurisdiction of Permanent Lok-Adalat is limited to the matter where the value of the Property in dispute does not exceed ten lakh rupees. This limit may be increased by the central Government in consultation with the Central Authority.  

See also...

1) Application for Legal Aid and Entitlement Criteria

2) Difference Between Permanent Lok-Adalat and Lok-Adalat

3) Constitution and Functions of the State Legal Services Authority.

4) The Constitution / Composition / Organization of the National Legal Services Authority

5) Power and Functions of Central Authority under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.


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