In February 2011 the government of Haryana established a Permanent Lok Adalat at Panchkula. Now 18 months later, the court is processing around 250 cases every month. Let’s take a look.
In May this year, 243 cases from Panchkula and two cases from Yamunanagar were settled by the Panchkula Permanent Lok Adalat. The Panchkula Lok adalat has jurisdiction over both Panchkula and Yamunanagar districts. Presently six such courts are functional in Haryana, covering all the districts.
The adalats have a chairman and two members. Presently, Panchkula Lok Adalat is chaired by S.S.Sen, a retired District and Session judge and two members, namely, R.K. Singal and P.S. Bedi.
The Permanent Lok Adalat provides services completely free of cost to the litigants and deals with issues related to public utility services
Water supply irregularities
Complaints relating to hospitals and insurance services
Banking and finance and housing and estates
Complaints relating to pension
The aim is to settle disputes at the pre- litigative stage.
As per the process, any party, affected from other can approach the adalat for resolving a grievance before the filing the case before a court. Consumer complaints may also be filed here. However, the difference between a consumer forum and these adalats is that a consumer forum only hears complaints pertaining to deficiency in service while these adalats may also hear cases pertaining to recovery of money and even petty offenses.
Adalat members attempt to resolve grievances by reconciliation however, in case parties reject compromise, the Adalat can declare a verdict as per the merits of the case. This ruling cannot be challenged before a court of law.
Some advocates argue that PLA rulings should not enjoy immunity from review by other courts. An advocate explained that at pre litigative stage, if a person approaches the Permanent Lok Adalat, which announces a decision against any of the two parties, he cannot seek remedy from another court.
The doors to other courts below high court are closed to him. This could deter people from approaching the adalats. Advocates also say that there is a need to make people aware of the permanent lok adalats.
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