Chandigarh, July 28:- From a measly 97 in 1999 to masterly 4,678 up to end-June, 2009. The ranks of beneficiaries of the State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, continue to swell by the day. Playing the role of a quasi-judicial adjudicator-cum-mediator, the authority has been successful in settling disputes between parties amicably and expeditiously at pre-litigation stage, thereby reducing the workload of courts.
Its favourite modus operandi 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 of this tool. 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.
With pendency of the motor challan cases touching a record 30,000, the authority decided to hold mega lok adalats to dispose them of. In 2007-08, it held three mega lok adalats where 13,024 summary cases pertaining to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and traffic challans were disposed of. And in 2008-09, it held three mega lok adalats and disposed of as many as 14,340 cases and recovered fine to the tune of Rs 13, 33,850.
The authority also organized ‘Samadhan-2008’ where cases pertaining to execution, the Hindu Marriage Act, civil suits, rent cases, criminal appeals, revision succession, MACT, labour cases, cases under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, Section 125 Cr PC were taken up. A total of 34,446 cases were settled and an amount of Rs 7.78 crore was awarded as compensation.
It also arranged 19 special lok adalats in 2007 to settle cases of bank recovery, financial institutions, and matrimonial disputes in 2007 and decided 256 cases at pre-litigation stage. In 2008, the authority disposed off 804 cases at 35 special lok adalats. .