Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 21st July -2021

Do you think Lok adalat is an effective dispute resolution institution? Examine the challenges that are present in Indian Lok adalat.

The concept of Lok Adalat stands as a unique contribution of the Indian legal system to world legal jurisprudence. It is an informal system of justice dispensation which has largely succeeded in providing a supplementary forum to litigants for determination and settlement of disputes. Originating from Gandhian principles by Mahatma Gandhi, it has become a major helping hand to courts and is prescribed in Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as well.

It is one of the efficient alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as it has the potential to provide amicable settlements of differences. It also provides for an inclusive justice as envisaged by the Constitution of India.

Though Lok Adalat is considered as one of the best alternative disputes resolution systems in India it has many challenges

  • Speedy resolution in this mechanism is not effective
  • Lawyers not accepting the few matters for settlement in Lok Adalat
  • Un preparedness or absence of parties at times delay settlements.
  • Main drawback of this is that when a party is absent then the case is returned to the court of law delaying the justice.
  • While deciding the dispute, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act will not be applicable. This means that the determination or decisions will be in a summary manner.
  • There were instances of members without a legal background in administrative tribunals. These members only have administrative experience.
  • In reality, Judges are pressured to quickly dispose of the cases for political gains, leading to limited consideration to the parties’ rights and needs.

Currently, this mechanism has lost public true due to lack of resources and skilled manpower, differences among judges and lawyers and inefficiency along with the lack of consideration of public sensitivity. Thus, it is vital for structurally and culturally to reform this mechanism so that it can achieve its original goal.

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