Lok Adalat : In exercise of the powers given to it, the National Legal Services Authority, which is the central authority, constituted under a Section 3 of the Legal Services Authority Act 1987 has made the National Legal Services Authority (Lok Adalats) Regulations, 2009.
The language of the regulation is so explicit that there is no room for doubt about the role of the Lok Adalat, the nature of the award and the procedure to be followed by the Lok Adalat when a matter is settled. It can be summarised thus:
- (1) The Lok Adalat only guides and assists the parties to reach a settlement or compromise.
- (2) It is the duty of the Lok Adalat to ensure that the parties fully understood the terms of the settlement or compromise before it is recorded.
- (3) The terms of the settlement or the compromise shall be reduced into writing.
- (4) The award shall be written in regional language used in the local courts or in English. It shall contain the particulars of the case, namely, the number of the case, the name of the court, the names of the parties, date of receipt of the case by the Adalat, the number assigned to it in its permanent register and the date of the settlement.
- (5) Both parties shall sign or affix their thumb impressions in it.
- (6) Where the parties are represented by counsel, they shall also be required to sign the settlement.
- (7) The members of the Lok Adalat shall countersign it.
- (8) The document containing the terms of the settlement or compromise becomes an award when the parties sign or affix their thumb impressions in it and the members of the Lok Adalat counter sign it. To this it may be added that if there is a provision for payment of any sum, it shall be expressed in figures as well as words.