‘Lok Adalat’ is a system of conciliation or negotiation. It is also known as ‘people’s court’. Lok Adalat is a forum where the cases (or disputes) which are pending in a court or which are at the pre-litigation stage are compromised or settled in an amicable manner.
The Supreme Court has explained the meaning of the institution of Lok Adalat in the following way:
The ‘Lok Adalat’ is an old form of adjudicating system that prevailed in ancient India and its validity has not been taken away even in modern days too. This system is based on Gandhian principles. As the Indian courts are overburdened with the backlog of cases involving lengthy, expensive and tedious procedures. The court takes years together to settle even petty cases. Lok Adalat, therefore, provides alternative resolution or devise for expeditious and inexpensive justice.
Objectives of Lok Adalat
The Lok Adalat was organised with the following objectives amongst others:
- To provide speedy justice.
- To generate awareness amongst the public regarding the conciliatory mode of dispute settlement and legal sanctity of Lok Adalat.
- To gear up the process of organising Lok Adalat.
- To provide a supplementary to the mainstream legal system.
- To encourage the public to settle their cases outside the formal set-up.
- To empower the public to participate in the justice delivery system.
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