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Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction to decide a matter on merits: Supreme Court

Published: 18th Oct, 2021

Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction to decide a matter on merits: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court noted that Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction over the matter once it has been determined that a compromise or settlement cannot be reached between the parties.


What are Lok Adalats?

  • Lok Adalat is one of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms. Simply put, it is one way to resolve differences.
  • It is a forum where disputes/cases pending in a court of law or pre-trial stage are resolved peacefully.
  • Lok Adalats has been granted legal status under the Legal Services Act, 1987.
  • Under the said Act, the award (decision) made by Lok Adalats is deemed to be a decision of a public court and is final and binding on all parties and there is no appeal against that award before any court of law.

What types of cases have been handled in Lok Adalats?

  • Mutation of land cases
  • Compoundable criminal offences
  • Family disputes
  • Encroachment on forest lands
  • Land acquisition disputes
  • Motor accident claim
  • Cases which are not sub-judice

Key-points highlighted by SC

  • The Supreme Court stated that the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 make it clear that the power of Lok Adalat will be to clarify and reach an agreement or settle between the parties to a dispute.
  • It said that if the payment or agreement failed, Lok Adalat should return the case to the court where the indictment was found.

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