New Delhi, 17 Dec 2020: Last National Lok Adalat of the year 2020 was organised through virtual and physical mode across the country under the aegis of the National Legal Services Authority on 12.12.2020. The requisite safety protocol in view of the COVID-19 pandemic was strictly observed by all SLSAs and DLSAs during organisation of daylong event of the Lok Adalat.
A total number of 8152 Benches were constituted by 31 SLSAs to conduct the National Lok Adalat. It was successful in disposing of 10,42,816 cases. Out of the total cases disposed of 5,60,310cases were at the pre-litigation stage and 4,82,506 cases were those which were pending in the courts. The details, as provided by states on NALSA portal, indicate that the settlement amount was nearly ₹3227.99 Cr.
In the aforesaid National Lok Adalat, cases pertaining to MACT cases, labour dispute, money recovery, land acquisition, maintenance cases, NI Act cases under Section 138, Criminal Compoundable Offences, matrimonial disputes (except divorce), service matters relating to pay, allowances and retirement benefits, other civil cases (rent, easmentary rights, injunction suits, specific performance suits) etc. were taken up.
Lok Adalat, conducted by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is an alternative method of dispute resolution. It is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled / compromised amicably. Lok Adalats have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Under the said Act, the award (decision) made by the Lok Adalats is deemed to be a decree of a civil court and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal lies against such an award before any court of law. National Lok Adalats are conducted quarterly for settlement of cases (both pre-litigation and post-litigation) in all the courts from the Supreme Court of India to the Taluk Courts on a single day.
To overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic in making this ADR forum for settling disputes accessible to various sections of people, the Legal Services Authorities introduced virtual Lok Adalat i.e., E-Lok Adalat in the year 2020. E-Lok Adalat by leveraging technology has provided a platform to millions of people to settle their disputes. Upto November 2020, a total number of 3,00,200 cases have been disposed of through the said E-Lok Adalats.
The following success stories give a glimpse as to how National Lok Adalat held on 12/12/2020 resulted in providing relief to the disputants by amicable settlement of their disputes.
Compensation to dependents of an accident victim
An application for compensation was filed by the dependents of an unmarried 22-year-old man who had died in a road accident before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. The claim for compensation was being contested by the Insurance Company. The dependents therefore were very much in distress. With the timely intervention of the Legal Services Authorities the case was settled in the National Lok Adalat, and the dependents were awarded compensation of Rs. 11,30,000, providing them with much needed relief.
Settlement of a family land dispute
A family land dispute was creating strain between two family members. The case was referred to the Lok Adalat bench Korba at the pre-litigation stage itself. The said land dispute was then taken up in the National Lok Adalat and was amicably settled at the pre-litigation stage bringing an end to the dispute.
Matrimonial dispute amicably settled
Cases relating to matrimonial disputes were also settled successfully in the National Lok Adalats. In one such case, a husband and wife who were going through a marital disharmony were reconciled. The husband had filed an original suit for restitution of conjugal rights. The matter was pending before the Principal Judge, Family Court, West Singhbhum at Chaibasa. After the matter was taken up in the National Lok Adalat, the dispute between husband and wife was amicably settled. The wife thereafter agreed to stay with the petitioner husband.
Relief to petitioner in claim for compensation
Through the National Lok Adalat, relief was also brought to a person after many years of struggle in claiming compensation from the Insurance Company against a theft which had occurred at his store. Even after many years of an order being passed in his favour in which Rs 13, 53,286/- along with 6% interest was ordered to be paid to him, the insurance company was delaying the payment. Thereafter, he approached DLSA, Deoghar for redressal of his grievance with the said Insurance Company. The matter was settled in National Lok Adalat on 12.12.2020, and a cheque of Rs 13,53,286/- was disbursed in favour of the petitioner.