Absence of timely legal help to poor affects credibility: CJI

The credibility of the legal system and the rule of law have come under “severe strain” in the absence of timely help to poor and illiterate Indians, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said today.

The CJI made the observations while highlighting the importance of Para Legal Volunteers (PLV) who, according to him, enabled ordinary and helpless people to avail the benefits of the legal system for alleviating their sufferings and injustice.

“In the absence of timely help to most Indians, the credibility of the legal system and the rule of law comes under severe strain,” he said, stressing that the poor and illiterate Indian were the main clients of the justice system.

Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who also spoke at the two-day National Meet of Para Legal Volunteers here, emphasised the use of technology in providing access and administration of justice.

Inaugurating two-day National Meet, the CJI said the service to poor was a “super divine duty” being carried out by the volunteers, which was move than the “divine duty discharged by the judges”.

The last-mile connectivity for a villager under the PLV scheme was not the lawyers but the PLVs working under the competent legal authorities which impart awareness of laws and legal system to them, he said.

When the disputes are such that they are beyond the capacity of these volunteers who have basic training in law, they approach the nearest legal services authority for a dispute settlement mechanism like Lok Adalat, mediation or more formal legal remedies.

“These volunteers trained under the 2009 para legal volunteer scheme act as filters relating to the number and nature of disputes that need to be formally and institutionally dealt with by the legal services. Para legal volunteers save time and money of the poor, the official administration and the courts,” Justice Khehar said.

Lauding NALSA’s poverty allevation scheme, he said it ensured that the benefits of various anti-poverty schemes of the central and the state governments actually reach the intended beneficiaries.

Emphasising the need for restructuring its approach and design, the CJI favoured skill-driven PLVs who can properly research and investigate facts or laws related to a case.

“In fact, this will develop para legal volunteer as multi skilled individual and enhance his or her performance as the critical interface between the common litigant and the courts by a process of upgradation that opens more opportunity for them,” he said.

The Minister emphasised the need for increasing use of technology in the judicial process.

“Time is changing fast and with the changing times, we have to change our technology. Technology is a very important tool in the administration of justice.

“In a country of 125 crore people, 108 crore people have mobile phones, among whom 35 crore have smart phones, which will very fast reach 50 crore figure”, Prasad said.

He said 113 crore people have Aadhaar cards but refused to speak on it further saying the matter was sub-judice.

Noting that good governance can be delivered with the help of technology, he said with government’s scheme of common service centre (CSC), people in villages and in small towns could avail digital services like making of ration cards, PAN cards, Aadhaar cards or booking of railway tickets.

“We have decided to link the CSC with the access to justice. Now these centres could help Dalit women, Kashmiri women and people from North East to get access to justice,” he said, adding that CSCs were being opened in 1,000 panchayats of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and soon 800 such centres will be opened in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.

Justice Dipak Misra, the executive chairman of NALSA, said this year has been dedicated as the year of excellence to “access to justice through para-legal volunteers”.

“Through these legal volunteers, the poor people of the country will be able know about government schemes and seek redressal of their grievances,” he said.

Several Supreme Court judges, high court judges and judicial officers from various trial courts across the country were also present at the event.

Source : PTI

National Lok Adalat tomorrow

National Lok Adalat tomorrow
National Lok Adalat tomorrow

In a national level effort to settle pending cases, local judiciary has planed to cover over 51 thousand cases in the Lok Adalat slated for tomorrow in the Mathura (UP) district.

Districtt Judge has given a call to all the litigants to take advantage of the Lok Adalat for the speedy justice.

“It (Lok Adalat) not only paves the way for speedy justice without spending a single penny but also converts enmity into cordial relations.

“Our aim is to ensure settlement of all the cases that have been taken up for Lok Adalat,” Distt Judge Dinesh Kumar Singh said.

Meanwhile, District Magistrate has ordered the different Government departments to ensure maximum attendance tomorrow.

“Every type of facility would be provided to litigants opting to get their cases in National Lok Adalat,” District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar said.

Special “arrangements”, including big pandals with basic amenities, have been made for the litigants.

“Two ‘May I help you?’ counters would be set up inside judiciary campus,” Pawan KumarSrivastava, Civil judge and secreatery Vidhik Seva Pradhikaran (Mathura) stated.

Since “summons” have been served to almost all the litigants, therefore local judiciary expect startling result tomorrow.

“Litigants may come directly and get their case settled, in case proper notice has not been served,” Srivastava added.

To make the National Lok Adalat a grand success besides a rally of school children and eminent citizens taken outfor awareness, over two dozen camps to educate the litigants were also organized at Tahsil and block headquarters, villages, schools and colleges.

Skits and magic show were also organized at important places for lasting impact of Lok Adalat on the spectators.

“Twenty-nine type of cases including all type of criminal compoundable matters, all civil cases except barred by apex court, revenue matters, taxes, stamp duty matters related to Govt schems, Insurance claims, bank recovery cases, telephone, power etc., would be settled in Lok Adalat,” to a question Srivastava narrated.

( Source – PTI )

Lok Adalats settle 1070 cases, award over Rs five crore

lok adalatA total of 1,070 cases were on Saturday settled by the Lok Adalats conducted at all the six district courts, Debt Recovery Tribunals and state consumer commission here in which settlement amount of over Rs five crore was awarded.

According to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, 29 benches were constituted in the district courts here, which disposed of 841 cases pertaining to various criminal offences.

These cases were pending in various district courts here and in the Lok Adalat, a settlement amount of Rs 1,41,31,431 was awarded, it said.

The authority said that Lok Adalats were also organised in the three Debt Recovery Tribunals here in which 16 cases were disposed of and settlement amount of approximately Rs 3 crore was given.

The Lok Adalat was also organised at the state consumer dispute redressal commission here in which six benches were constituted and 43 cases were settled, it said, adding that the settlement amount awarded was Rs 64,54,117.

107 criminal cases were also disposed of by way of plea bargaining in the special sitting conducted by metropolitan magistrates.

“Total 1070 cases were settled today in which settlement amount was Rs 5,05,85,548 and there would be no further appeals,” the authority said in a statement.

Keep ego in check to make Lok Adalat successful: Justice Dave

Second Nation Lok Adalat, to be held in all courts across the country on Saturday, was inaugurated bylok adalatwho asked litigants to keep their ego in control and have a “big heart” to help dispose of the cases.

The Lok Adalat, being organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), is aimed at disposing of lakhs of cases. Last year, around 71 lakh cases were settled in the first National Lok Adalat held on November 23.

Inaugurating the Lok Adalat, which will also take place in apex court, Justice Dave said it is the best way to resolve disputes as both the fighting parties come to a mutually acceptable solution and they do not have to wait for years to get their cases decided in court.

“This method is the best way to resolve the dispute. It is fast and less expensive. Relation between the litigants does not get strained and they remain cordial as they mutually agree to dissolve the dispute,” he said, adding, “People need to have a big heart and keep their ego under control to get the dispute resolved in Lok Adalat”.

He said this form of dispute resolution has been very successful even since it came into existence since March 14, 1982 when the first Lok Adalat was set up at Una in Junagadh district of Gujarat.

In the Supreme Court, three Lok Adalat benches will sit and 53 cases, including matrimonial disputes and motor accident compensation claims, will be taken up for disposal.

The programme will be viewed all over the country through video conferencing and web casting.

A large number of criminal compoundable cases, cheque bounce and bank recovery cases, civil suits motor accident claims and family matters will be taken up during the National Lok Adalat.

Apart from these, in many states, revenue matters, land acquisition references, consumer matters, service and labour matters will also be taken up for the amicable settlements.

Besides the Lok Adalat, a large number of petty criminal cases will also be taken up on Saturday by special sittings of magistrates and judges.

Court rejects Loop’s plea to refer matter to Lok Adalat

Lok AdalatA court here Thursday dismissed a plea filed by Loop Telecom seeking directions for referring the case against it to the Lok Adalat.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini dismissed the plea after going through the reply filed by investigating agency and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The CBI had opposed the plea while DoT said that it would abide by the court order.

The court said that the case does not appear to be fit to be referred to Lok Adalat.

Loop Telecom Ltd filed a plea seeking the court’s direction for referring the matter to the Lok Adalat, a system of alternative dispute resolution that focuses on compromise between two parties for settlement, saying the offences alleged against the firm were compoundable.

The two firms are facing charges of criminal conspiracy for cheating the DoT. A third set of charges filed by the CBI alleged that promoters of the Essar Group were the real investors and beneficiaries of the spectrum and licenses issued to Loop Telecom, which was used as a front company by Essar to acquire 2G licenses and spectrum in 2008.This has been denied by the firm.

(Source:IANS)

Lok Adalats: Saving time, money

Lok Adalats held periodically in the districts have emerged as a viable option for providing speedy relief to victims in family-related disputes and other minor legal hassles, Agra district judge Shashi Kant said Sunday.

The judge was presiding over a symposium on legal literacy and awareness, at the Agra civil court complex here. He said litigants save time and money when they take the Lok Adalat route.

Shashi Kant also felicitated four young couples whose problems were settled at the Lok Adalat.

The UCO bank sorted out disputes worth Rs.6 crore through the Lok Adalat, and recovered Rs.2 crore.

There are 25 para-legal volunteers working in each tehsil of Agra. In 2013 alone, 150 family disputes were resolved through this mechanism.

(Source: IANS)

Permanent Lok Adalat valid, its decision binding: SC

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.

Source: PTI

Lok Adalat asked to settle compensation for killed fishermen

A vacation bench of the Kerala High Court Friday referred the compensation claim, filed by families of the two Indian fishermen killed by two Italian Marines in February, to the Lok Adalat.

The court did this after Italian authorities and the two fishermen’s families agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement.

The case will now come up before the Lok Adalat here on Tuesday.

Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were apparently mistaken as pirates and shot dead by Marines aboard a cargo vessel Feb 15, off Alappuzha.

The marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, were picked up from the vessel and sent to jail Feb 20 on murder charges by a court in Kollam. They are now lodged in the central prison in Thiruvananthapuram.

Gelastine’s wife and children and the sisters of the other victim had filed a petition in the high court, demanding a compensation of Rs.1 crore each.