Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—Favourite modus operandi of the State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, remains Lok Adalat, an innovative mechanism evolved for resolving disputes in a spirit of conciliation outside courts and without delay and recrimination. The number of beneficiaries bears testimony to effectiveness and popularity among the people of this tool, feels Mr Mahavir Singh, Member Secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh.
While talking to Political and Business Daily he said that the authority playing the role of a quasi-judicial adjudicator-cum-mediator, it has been successful in settling disputes between parties amicably and expeditiously at pre and post-litigation stages, thereby reducing the workload of courts.
He further revealed that in 2017 the authority held four lok adalats and disposed of 10,946 cases of various nature and recovered fine to the tune of over Rs 108 crores. It has also come to the rescue of undertrials languishing in city’s jail in absence of legal aid. For the past two years, authority has provided legal aid to more than 1200 under trial.
Lok Adalats are being held every two months across the country is significantly contributing to disposal of cases free-of-cost. Statistics compiled by the Law Ministry show that more than 50 lakh cases have been disposed of every year on an average in the last three years in the country.
Mr Singh also revealed that after creation of the post of secretary DLSA the functioning of LokAdalat has improved. From 2019 for effective monitoring of quality legal aid being provided recently it has been decided to assign the work of selection of panel of advocates and entrusted work to them has been given to District Legal Services Authority under the chairmanship of district and session judge. Mr Singh further disclosed that it was also decided to devolve certain legal powers to DLSA to avoid unnecessary delay in seeking justice.
The authority had been constituted in 1998 under the State Service Authority Act, 1987, with the objective of providing legal aid to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society to secure their legal rights. From a measly 97 cases to masterly over 10,000 cases in 2018, ranks of beneficiaries continue to swell by the day. Mr Singh said that the Lok Adalat has been making inroads even in rural areas and more and more people from these areas came forward for settlement of their disputes.
For bringing down the pressure on regular courts, where the total pendency of cases has remained over four crores, the Lok Adalats have been playing pivot role in providing alternate dispute resolution forums, says he.