Lok-Adalat means, 'People's Court'. "Lok" stands for "people" and the term "Adalat" means court. Lok-Adalat is a system of alternative dispute resolution developed in India. Article 39-A, requires the State to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. The entire mechanism of Lok Adalat designed and evolved is with the object of promoting justice. Justice has three connotations namely social, economic and political. 'Access to Justice' means an ability to participate in the judicial process.
Nature of Cases to be Referred to Lok Adalat
1. Any case pending before any court.
2. Any dispute which has not been brought before any court and is likely to be filed before the court.
Provided that any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under the law shall not be settled in Lok Adalat.
Permanent Lok Adalat
The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was amended in 2002 to provide for the establishment of the Permanent Lok Adalats to deal with cases pertaining to the public utility services like transport, postal, telegraph etc. These are organized under Section 22-B of The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Every award made by the Permanent Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties thereto and shall be by a majority of the persons constituting the Permanent Lok Adalat.
National Lok Adalat
National Lok Adalat is a provision wherein Lok Adalats are held throughout the country in a single day. The initiative will be organized in all courts – right from the Supreme Court till the Taluka level, so as to resolve the matters brought to it by means of settlement or withdrawal.
Mobile Lok Adalat
Mobile Lok Adalats are held across the country. This provision facilitates the performance of the event in different parts of the country at different dates.
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