The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of setting up of Permanent Lok Adalat and making its decisions binding on parties with the provision that they cannot be challenged in courts.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and Anil R Dave justified setting up of such bodies on the lines of Lok Adalat for resolving disputes over public utility services saying “with increasing number of cases, the judicial courts are not able to cope with the heavy burden of inflow of cases and the matters coming before them.”
“With large population in the country and many public utility services being provided by various service providers, the disputes in relation to these services are not infrequent between the service providers and common man. Slow motion procedures in the judicial courts are not conducive for adjudication of disputes relating to public utility service,” the bench said.
“Parliament can definitely set up effective alternative institutional mechanisms or make arrangements which may be more efficacious than the ordinary mechanism of adjudication of disputes through judicial courts.
“Such institutional mechanisms or arrangements by no stretch of imagination can be said to be contrary to the constitutional scheme or against the rule of law,” the bench said.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by the Bar Council of India challenging the amendment in Legal Service Authority Act for setting up Permanent Lok Adalat whose decision was made binding on the parties and cannot be challenged in courts.