WHAT CASES CAN BE SETTLED IN LOK ADALAT.
M.A., B.ED., LL.M.
JUDICIAL MAGISTRATE OF I CLASS
In Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. vs. Cherian Varkey Construction Co. (P) LTD case, The sum and substance of what the court discussed elaborately is stated in paragraph 45 thus:
“…Know the dispute; exclude unfit cases; ascertain consent for arbitration or
conciliation; if there is no consent, select Lok Adalat for simple cases and mediation for all other cases, reserving reference to Judge–assisted settlement only in exceptional or special cases.”
Then, the Supreme Court went on categorizing the cases, considered suitable or not suitable for ADR process. It was observed that the following categories of cases are normally considered to be not suitable for ADR process having regard to their nature:
“(i) Representative suits under Order 1 Rule 8 CPC which involve public interest or
interest of numerous persons who are not parties before the court. (In fact, even a
compromise in such a suit is a difficult process requiring notice to the persons
interested in the suit, before its acceptance).
(ii) Disputes relating to election to public offices (as contrasted from disputes between
two groups trying to get control over the management of societies, clubs, association,
(iii) Cases involving grant of authority by the section after enquiry, as for example, suits
or grant of probate or letters of administration.
(iv) Cases involving serious and specific allegations of fraud, fabrication of documents,
forgery, impersonation, coercion etc.
(v) Cases requiring protection of sections, as for example, claims against minors, deities
and mentally challenged and suits for declaration of title against the Government.
(vi) Cases involving prosecution for criminal offences.”22
The Supreme Court also proceeded to enumerate the cases (whether pending in civil
courts or special tribunals), suitable for ADR processes. Such cases are classified under five broad headings:-
(i) All cases relating to trade, commerce and contracts;
(ii) All cases arising from strained relationship,such as matrimonial cases;
(iii) All cases where there is a need for continuation of the pre-existing relationship, such
as disputes between neighbour and members of societies;
(iv) All cases relating to tortuous liability, including motor accident claims; and
(v) All consumer disputes.