Ensure litigants aren't coerced to accept Lok Adalat order: CJI

CJIChief Justice of India P Sathasivam.(IE Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

The presiding members of Lok Adalats must ensure that litigants are not "intimidated" or "misled" to give their consent to the decisions as they are final and cannot be appealed against, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam said.

Terming Lok Adalats as an effective mode of settling disputes, the CJI said they provide an "approachable" forum to the poor, weaker and less-informed sections and should not be allowed to be used by "unscrupulous parties to commit fraud, forgery".

The CJI was inaugurating the National Lok Adalat at the Supreme Court in which nearly 39 lakh cases would be taken up today across the country including the apex court, high courts and the district courts.

For sustaining faith in the system, "it is obligatory for every presiding member to make sincere efforts in bringing about a conciliated settlement in every case put before it without causing any kind of coercion, threat, undue influence, allurement or misrepresentation either directly or indirectly," he said.

"Since the award made by a Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute and there lies no appeal to any court against the award, the presiding members owe an implied obligation to ensure that the parties fully understand the terms of settlement," he said.

The National Lok Adalats can be held every year across the country, the CJI said, adding "all District and Taluk Court are computerised and interconnected for effective administration."

Justice G S Singvi, who also spoke on the occasion, noted

that Lok Adalats and mediation are the "most powerful

instruments" for delivery speedy justice.

"As a lawyer and a judge of different high courts and this court (apex court), I have found the Lok Adalat and mediation as one of the most powerful instruments for speedy justice which finds place as the first world in the preamble of the constitution," he said.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.