LOK ADALAT THE BEST OPTION

A National Lok Adalat was held across the state today to provide speedy justice to the litigants enmeshed in litigations in various courts where disposal is quite slow on account of various procedural hurdles. While 14166 cases were taken up in Lok Adalats today, 10528 were disposed off with Rs.17.83 cr awarded as compensation and settlement amount. However, for Jammu it was a matter of pride that DLSA Jammu recorded the highest disposal of 2957 cases out of 3093 cases taken up today. It is a fact that only an effective legal system is the key to success of a nation and its citizens because no system, no polity, no society can survive if there is failure to ensure justice to the people of a nation and India being no exception to it. When we observe the ground situation in this regard in India we quite easily come to the conclusion that there is a dire need to improve the pace of the justice delivery system so that it can be accessible and affordable for all. Only a couple of days earlier acting on the explicit directions of the Supreme Court albeit after a delay of one and half year, the J&K High Court has fixed timelines for all the courts across the state for conclusion of trials in criminal cases to effectuate the mandate of the fundamental right under Article 21 especially with regard to the persons in custody. Moreover, adherence to these timelines has also been made the touchstone for assessment of judicial performance in annual confidential reports of the Judicial Officers. It needs to be realized that the Judicial as well as legal services are not like any other service but they are actually missions for serving the society and this mission cannot be achieved if the litigant who is waiting in the queue doesn’t get his turn for a long time. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has impressed upon the courts to dispose off bail applications normally within one week besides fixing timelines for pending criminal trials. The courts have further been asked to make efforts to dispose of all the cases which are five years old by the end of the year. Though these are the measures that will go a long way in addressing delays besides diminishing the volume of pendency, yet it is a fact that in this regard the Lok Adalats are proving a viable solution not only for speedy justice delivery but also benefitting the litigants who opt for this out of Court settlement. In order to encourage the litigants for Lok Adalats the litigants are even refunded the court fee paid during litigation besides the cases being settled in the Lok Adalat without hiring lawyers. Moreover, the Lok Adalat brings on end to the litigation for ever as the order passed by it is non-appealable. Last but not the least there is a win-win situation for both the parties as a result of which there is no further scope for animosity among them thus promoting cordial relations between the two litigating families. However in making the Lok Adalats more popular and best option for the litigants a lot more needs to be done. It is hoped that the stakeholders especially the Bench and Bar initiate relentless efforts for encouraging the litigants for Lok Adalats and other Alternate Dispute Resolution processes which will undoubtedly improve the pace of the justice delivery system.