Let us thank Prof Visweswaraiah, Vice President, All India Senior Citizens Confederation for this write-up.
In the word,'Lok Adalat' 'Lok' means people and 'Adalat' means court.So Lok Adalat stands for people's court. People's court was in vogue in ancient times in our country in the name of 'Panchayat' consisting of respected elders of villages.They used to resolve disputes among villagers and their verdict was final and it was accepted in good faith.This system has been successfully replicated as 'Lok Adalats' to suit modern times by Legal Services Authority of India.This alternate dispute resolution system has helped a lot to litigent public in getting justice.
Lok Adalats can deal with all civil cases,matrimonial disputes,land disputes,property disputes,labour disputes and compoundable criminal cases.Cases that are pending in regular courts can be transferred to a Lok Adalat if both parties agree.Cases can also be transferred to LA if one party applies to the court and the court sees some chance of settlement after the other party has been given an opportunity of being heard.The focus in LA is on compromise between two parties and when no compromise is reached,the matter goes back to the court.However if compromise is reached,an award is made and is binding on the parties and it is enforced as a decree of a civil court.As the award is given with the consent of parties,it is final and cannot be appealed in any court.Lok Adalat can also take up fresh disputes for settlement.
As early in 2003.our State Government has prepared action of plan on National Policy on Older Persons.As per this plan,Law Department was asked to bring within the purview of Lok Adalat,all court cases involving older persons and other related issues for "Quick and out of turn" disposal of cases.Though late,we heartily welcome the formation of Lok Adalat Bench exclusively for cases of senior citizens except the cases of service pension.Lok Adalat Bench for senior citizens is a boon to them where they can get their disputes settled at an expeditious manner and free of cost.They provide hassle free solution.