Lok Adalats eased courts’ pressure, decided 8.2 cr cases:Judge

The already over-burdened judiciary has been aided by the alternate dispute redressal mechanism of Lok Adalats which have decided 8.25 crore pre-litigation and pending cases in over 15.14 sittings in the last two decades, senior Supreme Court judge TS Thakur said on Monday.

Justice Thakur, the Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) who would succeed Chief Justice HL Dattu, said Lok Adalats have been effective and have “relieved judiciary of a huge burden of trial, appeals and revisional proceedings and resultant delays in the disposal of these matters” as their decisions are final and binding.

“To sum up, since January to September this year, more than 1.28 lakh Lok Adalats have been organised in the country and more than 57 lakh cases, including those pending in courts and those at pre-litigation stage, have been settled.

“It is also pertinent to mention that as on 30th September, a total of more than 15.14 lakh Lok Adalats have been organised in the country and 8.25 crore cases, including cases pending in the courts as well as those in the pre- litigation stage, have been settled in these Lok Adalats,” he said in his address on Legal Services Day and Commendation Ceremony, also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Highlighting the benefits of the NALSA Act, Justice Thakur said it gave support to the poor people fighting the mighty state, which is the key litigant against whom 80 per cent matters were filed.

“We know the state is the biggest litigant in the judicial system of this country. Eighty per cent of the litigation is against the state. Against the mighty state against whom the litigant has to fight his case, poorer sections of the society find themselves isolated.

“It was in that spirit of ensuring access to justice to such sections pitted against the state becomes a reality, Parliament has made such a programme. That will continue to be so. No system, no polity, no society can survive where you don’t not ensure justice…,” he said.

Justice Thakur also sought the support of public broadcasters, All India Radio and Delhi Doordarshan, and urged the Prime Minister to ask them not to charge NALSA and the State Legal Services Authorities (SALSAs) in promoting legal awareness among the masses

Lok Adalats dispose off 3509 cases in JK

lok adalatThe Lok Adalats have disposed off 3509 cases in Jammu and Kashmir on a single day.

“As many as 3509 cases were disposed off in the Lok Adalats convened throughout the state on Saturday”, an official spokesman said.

The cases include 3031 labour and 478 family matters, he said, adding, an amount of Rs 57,17,080 was settled in labour and Rs 1,15,675 in family matters.

The Lok Adalats were convened under the patronage of Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, who is also the patron-in-chief of J&K State Legal Services Authority.

At the high court complex, the Lok Adalat was inaugurated by Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, Judge of the state high court, who is also the Executive Chairman of J&K State Legal Services Authority. Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Jankraj Kotwal, Judges of J&K High Court were also present on the occasion.

Around 350 cases were taken for settlement in the Lok Adalat held at the high court and 14 cases were settled on the spot.

Registrar General of J&K High Court Kaniz Fatima, Secretary J&K High Court Legal services R N Watal, Registrar Judicial and Joint Registrar were also present on the occasion.

We are against honour killing, dress code for women: Khap to SC

Khap panchayats, which have come under judicial scrutiny for their diktats, have submitted to the Supreme Court that they do not pass any order for honour killing and are against any ban for use of mobile phones and wearing of jeans by women.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, Sarvjatiya Sarv Khap Panchayat submitted that it has never violated law by passing such orders.

It, however, told it has reservation in same gotra (sub-caste) marriage and submitted that Hindu Marriage Act for debarring such marriages.

“The Sarvjatiya Sarv Khap Panchayat strongly condemns the honour killings and fully assures the administration to assist it in bringing the culprits to book. The Sarv Khap Panchayat also condemns the ban or fatwa etc, regarding the use of mobile and jeans etc, by women/girls as the panchayat respects the rights of individuals,” the affidavit told.

It said decisions are taken by khap panchayats like out-of court justice like Lok Adalats and they deliver justice to poor and illiterate people who cannot approach courts.

“Most of the people residing in interior parts are poor and illiterate and have no means to approach the court of law and therefore, they seek justice through their respective khap panchayat/sarv khap panchayat/sarv jatiya sarv khap panchayat,” according to it.

The affidavit was filed in compliance of apex court’s order directing various khap panchayats to respond to a PIL seeking its intervention in restraining them in passing diktats against women.

Earlier, the apex court had said khap panchayats’ diktat on dress code for women and asking them not to carry mobiles is unlawful.

The PIL was filed by NGO Sahakti Vahini seeking court’s direction to the government to take action against khap panchayats for allegedly harassing and killing couples, particularly women in name of family’s honour for entering into inter-caste or intra-gotra marriages.

The apex court posted the PIL for final hearing on March 5.

Delay in justice a major challenge, says CJI Kabir

Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir a major problem being faced in delivery of criminal justice was delay “where the entire process takes almost 15-16 years”. Delivering Justice P D Desai memorial lecture in Ahmedabad on ‘Administration of Criminal Justice’

Justice Kabir told, “Today a major problem is delay where the entire process, from the time when an offence is registered to the stage of final conviction, takes almost 15 to 16 years.”

“I hope everybody involved in the process would perform their duty to expedite the wheels of justice,” he added.

“….this (delay) is the main thing which bothers judiciary. And because of inordinate delay, sometimes we see angry reaction from public feeling that something should be done immediately,” he said while elaborating the challenges in administration of criminal justice.

“One such incident took place on December 16 last year in Delhi. First reaction was let us set up fast track courts for the offences against women and girls,” he said citing the incidence of gang rape in a moving bus which created widespread outrage.

“On January 2, first fast track court was set up in one of the district in New Delhi to take up such cases. Then you might have come across media reports that trial in one case was completed in 9 days and trial completed in another case in 13 days,” he added.

“Something like this happens and people start reacting. It is a knee jerk reaction…But one can not blame any one part of the system. Look at the large population we have, which is at present 1.20 billion and it is increasing,” he mentioned.

“Where do we stand in regards to the Judge Population ratio? In USA, there are 125 judges for 1 million citizens and in India we have 6 judges for 1 million,” he said while highlighting the ground reality of the country. Justice Kabir also said that, “India unfortunately is a country where a large population, almost 70 per cent, is living in poverty and does not share the affluence that the other section have.”

“Many of them are not as fortunate as we are. They are below poverty line and don’t even know about their rights, have no access of the courts,” he said.

He also highlighted lack of infrastructure and logistical facilities for courts in the country, high amount of arrears of cases particularly those of Negotiable Instruments Act while expressing concern over lack of awareness about alternate mechanisms like compounding the offences, Lok Adalats, plea bargaining, etc.

“About three months ago in Madhya Pradesh, Lok Adalats disposed of 27 lakh cases in one day,” he cited an example.

Chronologically describing the evolution of Criminal Justice system in India, the Chief Justice observed that, “there is a change in the mindset.”

In this regard, he cited the example of the global campaign ‘One Billion Rising’ “to make people aware of the rights of women and their right to be protected.”

“In Gujarat you have a famous ship yard (Alang Ship Yard at Bhavnagar) where hazardous ships were brought. These environmental hazards has been a crime against human beings, against people who live in the state. It took right-minded citizens to bring it forward,” he added.

Need to spread awareness on lok adalats: Chief Justice Misra

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Dipak Misra Monday said it is the responsibility of the media to create awareness among the general public about lok adalats which help settle cases amicably.

He said lok adalats were meant for the public who need help, settlement and want their cases to be solved without any controversy and media should take up the responsibility to create awareness about them.

The next mega lok adalat is to be held Oct 24.

‘Lok adalat is a pathway for social engineering which has to be activated by helping those who are in a problem. We are committed to provide them relief and media should come forward in informing them about its benefits,’ said the chief justice.

He said that every case has a human face. ‘Some may feel it’s a small case but the person who has to appear in the court knows how big the case is for him. It is in this context that mega lok adalats are held to solve the matter amicably.’

‘We have to understand the problem that people are facing due to the pending cases. It is our duty to help them but it won’t be complete if the people for whom we are conducting lok adalats don’t appear before us,’ he added.

Speaking to reporters, he said that he has been holding meetings with senior officials of insurance companies, banks and financial institutions who have agreed to co-operate in solving disputes which have been pending for long.

‘We have received co-operation from all the bars and lawyers. We have asked them to see that if a lawyer from one of the parties doesn’t appear before us, he must be informed so that the matter is solved without losing anytime,’ said the chief justice.

Justice A.K. Sikri also said that dissemination of information is very crucial in making lok adalats a success.

‘We have requested officials and counsels to inform the parties before the listing of a case so that they come well prepared and the matter can be solved amicably. But people should also know about their case and about the lok adalats through media,’ he said.

‘We have spent lot of time working visiting district courts and studying cases and we felt that in most of the cases there should be pre-hearing where there is a possibility that the matter can reach a peaceful settlement,’ said Justice Vikramjit Sen.

He said that there is a common notion in accident cases that people won’t get their dues but its wrong.

‘We have managed to convince the insurance companies to come to a realistic amount so that people get the right compensation. But for this the public has to attend the pre-hearings to get a positive result out of their cases,’ he said.