This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Lok Adalat (People's Court) is one of the Alternative dispute resolution mechanism in India, it is a forum where cases pending on panchayat or at pre litigation stage in a court of law are settled. They have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Under this Act, the award (decision) made by the Lok Adalats is deemed to be a case of a civil court and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal against such an award lies before any court of law. If the parties are not satisfied with the award of the Lok Adalat (though there is no provision for an appeal against such an award), they are free to initiate litigation by approaching the court of appropriate jurisdiction.
- The first lok adalat was held in Gujrat in 1982.
- First time held in Chennai in 1986.
- Accepts cases pending in regular court under their jurisdiction.
- The Lok Adalat are presided over by Members of Lok Adalat; they have the role of statutory conciliators only and do not have any judicial role, therefore they can only persuade the parties to come to a settlement
- Main condition of the Lok Adalat is that both parties in dispute should agree for settlement.
- There is no court fee and if a matter pending in the court of law is referred to the Lok Adalat and is settled subsequently, the court fee originally paid in the court on the complaints/petition is also refunded back to the parties.
- The procedural laws and the Evidence Act are not strictly followed while assessing the merits of the claim by the Lok Adalat.
- The decision of the Lok Adalat is binding on the parties to the dispute and its order is capable of execution through legal process.
Lok Adalat is very effective in settlement of money claims. Disputes like partition suits, damages and matrimonial cases can also be easily settled before Lok Adalat, as the scope for compromise through an approach of give and take is high in these cases. A Lok Adalat can take up civil cases (including marriage, and family disputes) and compoundable criminal cases .First time lok adalat was held in Gujrat in 1999