Lok Adalat or people’s Court is not a new concept in our country and evolution of this system can be traced back even during the ancient and medieval period till the advent of the British rule. During the British period all the legal system has been changed which has disturbed the old system of dispensation of justice. The Institution of Lok Adalat was developed in India to provide relief from delays, tardy procedures and high cost of litigation. Lok Adalats seeks to resolve the disputes through conciliation and persuasive methods.
Lok Adalat is an effective means of amicable settlement of dispute and is a part of ADR Mechanism. Section 19 (5) of the legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 lays down the jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat which has the power to settle the dispute for cases which are pending, or such matters which are falling within the jurisdiction of and are not brought before any court for which the Lok Adalat is organised. The Lok Adalat can take cognizance of those cases where the parties mutually agree to bring the matter to the Lok Adalat or where one party by moving an application to the Court seeks it permission for referring the case to the Lok Adalat. The approach of the judges of the Lok Adalat is based in the principles of justice,equity and fair play and commonsense.
With a view to speedily resolve the cases of the people easily and without any expenses, Lok Adalats are being held frequently in all the Districts of Meghalaya including District Council Courts. For getting resolved their cases through the Lok Adalat, there is no limit as to the income of the applicant. Once the disputed is settled by the Lok Adalat, its orders are final and binding upon both the parties u/s 20 (1). The Court fees paid in such a case shall be refunded.