Lok Adalat and Free Legal Aid

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Lok Adalat and Free legal Aid

Lok Adalat and Free legal Aid

By- Sanjeev Kumar  By- Sanjeev Kumar  (Nodal Officer Computer)/ (Nodal Officer Computer)/

A.D.J./F.T

A.D.J./F.T.C. .C. AllahaAllahabadbad Lok Adalats in India

Lok Adalats in India

ADR (Alternat

ADR (Alternate e DisputDispute e ResolResolution ) ution ) systsystem has em has been anbeen an integral part of our historical past. The concept of Lok Adalat (Peoples' Court) is integral part of our historical past. The concept of Lok Adalat (Peoples' Court) is an innovative Indian contribution to the world jurisprudence. The institution of  an innovative Indian contribution to the world jurisprudence. The institution of  Lok Adalat in India, as the very name suggests, means, People's Court."Lok" Lok Adalat in India, as the very name suggests, means, People's Court."Lok" stands for "people" and the term "Adalat" means court. India has a long tradition stands for "people" and the term "Adalat" means court. India has a long tradition and history of such methods being practiced in the society at grass roots level. and history of such methods being practiced in the society at grass roots level. In ancient times the disputes were used to be referred to “panchayat” which In ancient times the disputes were used to be referred to “panchayat” which we

were re esestatabliblishshed ed at at vivillllagage e lelevelvel. . PaPancnchayhayat’at’s s usused ed to to reresosolvlve e ththe e disdisputputee through arbitration. It has proved to be a very effective alternative to litigation. through arbitration. It has proved to be a very effective alternative to litigation.

This very concept of settlement of dispute through mediation, This very concept of settlement of dispute through mediation, negotiation or through arbitral process known as decision of "Nyaya-Panchayat" negotiation or through arbitral process known as decision of "Nyaya-Panchayat" is conceptualized and institutionalized

is conceptualized and institutionalized in the philosophy of in the philosophy of Lok Adalat. It involvesLok Adalat. It involves people who are directly or indirectly affected by dispute resolution.

people who are directly or indirectly affected by dispute resolution.

The evolution of movement called Lok Adalat was a part of the The evolution of movement called Lok Adalat was a part of the strategy to relieve heavy burden on the Courts with pending cases and to give strategy to relieve heavy burden on the Courts with pending cases and to give relief to the litigants who were in a queue to get justice.

relief to the litigants who were in a queue to get justice.

The advent of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 gave a statutory The advent of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 gave a statutory status to Lok Adalats, pursuant to the constitutional mandate in Article 39-A of  status to Lok Adalats, pursuant to the constitutional mandate in Article 39-A of  the Constitution of India. It contains various provisions for settlement of disputes the Constitution of India. It contains various provisions for settlement of disputes through Lok Adalat. It is an Act to constitute legal services authorities to provide through Lok Adalat. It is an Act to constitute legal services authorities to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats to secure reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity.

opportunity.

There is a Central Authority called the "National Legal Services There is a Central Authority called the "National Legal Services Au

Auththororitityy". ". ItIts s papatrtron on is is ththe e HoHon'n'blble e ChChieief f JuJuststicice e of of InIndidia. a. ItIts s ExExececututivivee Chairman is the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Chairman is the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

So far as the State Legal Services Authorities are concerned, it is So far as the State Legal Services Authorities are concerned, it is headed by a Patron-in-Chief who is none other than the Hon'ble Chief Justice of  headed by a Patron-in-Chief who is none other than the Hon'ble Chief Justice of 

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the High Court. In

the High Court. In almost all the State Authalmost all the State Authoritiesorities, except perhaps one , except perhaps one or two, aor two, a sitting Judge of the High Court functions as the Executive Chairman.

sitting Judge of the High Court functions as the Executive Chairman.

Some relevant provisions of Legal Services Authority Act 1987 are as Some relevant provisions of Legal Services Authority Act 1987 are as

follows:----Section 2 (1) (aaa) of the Act defines ‘

Section 2 (1) (aaa) of the Act defines ‘Court’Court’ as under:--as

under:--““Court means a civil, criminal or revenue court and includes any tribunal or anyCourt means a civil, criminal or revenue court and includes any tribunal or any other authority cons

other authority constituttituted under any ed under any law for the law for the time being in force, to time being in force, to exerciexercisese  judicial or quasi-judicial functions.”

 judicial or quasi-judicial functions.”

Jurisdiction of Lok Adalat

Jurisdiction of Lok Adalat

(Sub Sec 5 of Sec 19 of the Act) (Sub Sec 5 of Sec 19 of the Act)

A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of:

or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of: (i) any case pending before; or 

(i) any case pending before; or 

(ii) any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, (ii) any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any court for which the Lok Adalat is organised.

any court for which the Lok Adalat is organised.

The Lok Adalat can compromise and settle even criminal cases, which The Lok Adalat can compromise and settle even criminal cases, which are compoundable under the relevant laws.

are compoundable under the relevant laws.

 –

 – Organisation of Lok AdalatOrganisation of Lok Adalat

(Section 19 of

(Section 19 of the Act)the Act)

The State Authority and District Authority, Supreme Court Legal The State Authority and District Authority, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee and Taluk Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee and Taluk Legal Services Committee (mentioned in Section 19 of the Act) can organize Lok Services Committee (mentioned in Section 19 of the Act) can organize Lok Adalats at such intervals and places as may be deemed fit.

Adalats at such intervals and places as may be deemed fit.

- Every Lok Adalat so organized shall consist of: (a) Serving or retired judicial - Every Lok Adalat so organized shall consist of: (a) Serving or retired judicial officers, (b) other persons, as may be specified.

officers, (b) other persons, as may be specified.

The experience and qualification of “other persons” in a Lok Adalat conducted The experience and qualification of “other persons” in a Lok Adalat conducted by Supreme Court Legal Services Committee shall be prescribed by the Central by Supreme Court Legal Services Committee shall be prescribed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. At present, Rule 13 Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. At present, Rule 13 of

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experience and qualifications as: experience and qualifications as: (a) A

(a) A member of the member of the legal profession; or legal profession; or 

(b) A person of repute who is specially interested in the implementation of the (b) A person of repute who is specially interested in the implementation of the Legal Services Schemes and Programmes; or 

Legal Services Schemes and Programmes; or 

© An eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of weaker sections © An eminent social worker who is engaged in the upliftment of weaker sections of

of peoppeople, le, incincludiluding ng SchScheduleduled ed CasCastestes, , SchScheduleduled ed TTriberibes, s, womwomen, en, chichildreldren,n, rural and urban labour.

rural and urban labour.

The experience and qualification of “other persons” mentioned in clause (b) shall The experience and qualification of “other persons” mentioned in clause (b) shall be prescribed by the

be prescribed by the State GovernmeState Government in nt in consulconsultation with the Chief Justice of tation with the Chief Justice of  High Court.

High Court.

Cognizance of Pending Cases & Determination

Cognizance of Pending Cases & Determination

(Sec 20 of

(Sec 20 of the Act)the Act) A. On Application:

A. On Application:

(I) When all the parties to the case agree for referring the case to Lok Adalat, or  (I) When all the parties to the case agree for referring the case to Lok Adalat, or  (ii) When one of the party to the case makes an application to court, praying to (ii) When one of the party to the case makes an application to court, praying to refer the case to Lok Adalat and the court is prima facie satisfied that there are refer the case to Lok Adalat and the court is prima facie satisfied that there are chances for settlement

chances for settlement

B. Suo Moto: Where the court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one B. Suo Moto: Where the court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one to be taken cognizance of, by the Lok Adalat.

to be taken cognizance of, by the Lok Adalat.

Then, the court shall refer the case to the Lok Adalat, after giving a reasonable Then, the court shall refer the case to the Lok Adalat, after giving a reasonable opportunity for hearing to all the parties.

opportunity for hearing to all the parties.

Further, the Authority or Committee organising Lok Adalat may, on application Further, the Authority or Committee organising Lok Adalat may, on application from any party to a dispute, refer the said dispute to Lok Adalat, after giving a from any party to a dispute, refer the said dispute to Lok Adalat, after giving a reasonable opportunity for hearing to all the parties.

reasonable opportunity for hearing to all the parties.

-Lok Adalat shall proceed to dispose of a case refereed to it expeditiously. -Lok Adalat shall proceed to dispose of a case refereed to it expeditiously. - Shall be

- Shall be guided by pringuided by principles of law, justice, equity and fair pciples of law, justice, equity and fair playlay.. - Shall yearn to reach a settlement or compromise between parties. - Shall yearn to reach a settlement or compromise between parties. -

- WhWhen en no no cocompmproromimise se or or sesettttlelemement nt is is acaccocompmplilishsheded, , ththe e cacase se is is to to bebe returned to the court which referred it. Then the case will proceed in the court returned to the court which referred it. Then the case will proceed in the court from the stage immediately before the reference.

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Passing of

Passing of the Athe Awardward

(Sec 21 of

(Sec 21 of the Act)the Act)

-Every award of Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court. -Every award of Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court.

-Every award shall be signed by all the parties to the dispute and the panel -Every award shall be signed by all the parties to the dispute and the panel constituting the Lok Adalat.

constituting the Lok Adalat.

-Every award shall form part of the judicial records. -Every award shall form part of the judicial records. -Every award shall be categorical and lucid.

-Every award shall be categorical and lucid.

-Every award shall be in the regional language or in English. -Every award shall be in the regional language or in English.

-A certified copy of the award will be given free of cost, to all the parties. -A certified copy of the award will be given free of cost, to all the parties. -Every award made by Lok Ada

-Every award made by Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on lat shall be final and binding on all the parties toall the parties to the dispute, and no appeal shall lie to any court against the award.

the dispute, and no appeal shall lie to any court against the award.

-If a pending case is settled at Lok Adalat, any court fee already paid will be -If a pending case is settled at Lok Adalat, any court fee already paid will be refunded as provided by the Court Fees Act, 1870.

refunded as provided by the Court Fees Act, 1870.

Powers of Lok Adalat

Powers of Lok Adalat

(Sec 22 of

(Sec 22 of the Act)the Act) (1) The Lok Adalat shall have the powers of a

(1) The Lok Adalat shall have the powers of a civil courcivil court under the t under the Code of CivilCode of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following

Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following

matters:---(a)Power to summon and enforce the attendance of any witness and to examine (a)Power to summon and enforce the attendance of any witness and to examine him/her on oath.

him/her on oath.

(b)Power to enforce the discovery and production of any document. (b)Power to enforce the discovery and production of any document. (c)Power to receive evidence on affidavits,

(c)Power to receive evidence on affidavits,

(d)Power for requisitioning of any public record or document or copy thereof or  (d)Power for requisitioning of any public record or document or copy thereof or  from any court.

from any court.

(e)Such other matters as may be prescribed. (e)Such other matters as may be prescribed.

(2)Every Lok Adalat shall have the power to specify its own procedure for the (2)Every Lok Adalat shall have the power to specify its own procedure for the determination of any dispute coming before it.

determination of any dispute coming before it. (3

(3)A)Alll l prprococeeeedidingngs s bebefofore re a a LoLok k AdAdalalat at shshalall l be be dedeememed ed to to be be jjududiciciialal proceedings within the meaning of Sections 193, 219 and 228 of IPC

proceedings within the meaning of Sections 193, 219 and 228 of IPC

(4)Every Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purpose of Sec (4)Every Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purpose of Sec 195 and Chapter XXVI of Cr.P.C.

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Permanent Lok Adalat

Permanent Lok Adalat

(Hereinafter mentioned

(Hereinafter mentioned as ‘PLAas ‘PLA’ - Chapter ’ - Chapter VI A VI A of the Act)of the Act) -C

-Chahaptepter r VI A VI A wawas s newnewly ly addadded ed by by AmAmenendmedment nt AcAct, t, 2002002, 2, inintrtroduoducicing ng ththee concept of Permanent Lok Adalat.

concept of Permanent Lok Adalat.

-The Central or State Authorities may establish by notification, Permanent Lok -The Central or State Authorities may establish by notification, Permanent Lok Ad

Adalalats ats at at any any plplacace, e, fofor r dedetertermiminining ng isissusues es in in coconnennectction ion to to PuPubliblic c UtUtililitityy Services.

Services.

-Public Utility Services include: -Public Utility Services include: (1) Transport service,

(1) Transport service,

(2) Postal, telegraph or telephone services, (2) Postal, telegraph or telephone services, (3) Supply of power, light and water to public, (3) Supply of power, light and water to public, (4) System of public conservancy or sanitation, (4) System of public conservancy or sanitation,

(5) Insurance services and such other services as notified by the Central or  (5) Insurance services and such other services as notified by the Central or  State Governments.

State Governments.

-PLAs have the same powers that are vested on the Lok Adalats, mentioned -PLAs have the same powers that are vested on the Lok Adalats, mentioned under Section 22(1) of the Act.

under Section 22(1) of the Act.

Organisational Structure of Permanent Lok Adalat

Organisational Structure of Permanent Lok Adalat

(Section 22B (2)

(Section 22B (2) of the Act)of the Act)

Chairman--A perso

A person who n who is or is or has been a has been a districdistrict Judge or Additional Distt Judge or Additional District Judge or rict Judge or hashas held judicial office higher in rank than that of a District Judge, shall be the held judicial office higher in rank than that of a District Judge, shall be the Chairman.

Chairman.

Members---Two other persons having adequate experience in Public Utility Service to be Two other persons having adequate experience in Public Utility Service to be nominat

nominated ed by Central by Central GovernGovernment on ment on the recommendatithe recommendation on of of Central ACentral Authorityuthority and by the State Government on the recommendation of the State Authority.

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Cognizance of Pending Cases by Permanent Lok Adalat

Cognizance of Pending Cases by Permanent Lok Adalat

(Sec 22C of th

(Sec 22C of the Act)e Act)

1. Any party to a dispute can apply to PLA for settlement of a dispute in respect 1. Any party to a dispute can apply to PLA for settlement of a dispute in respect of a public utility service, which is not pending before any court.

of a public utility service, which is not pending before any court. 2. PLA does

2. PLA does not have not have jurisdijurisdiction to ction to entertaentertain disputes involving offencin disputes involving offences es whichwhich are not compoundable.

are not compoundable.

3. PLA does not have jurisdiction to entertain a matter where the value of the 3. PLA does not have jurisdiction to entertain a matter where the value of the property involved exceeds ten lakhs, which limit can be enhanced as provided property involved exceeds ten lakhs, which limit can be enhanced as provided for.

for.

4. Once, an application is preferred to PLA for determination of a dispute, no 4. Once, an application is preferred to PLA for determination of a dispute, no party to such application can invoke the jurisdiction of any court in the same party to such application can invoke the jurisdiction of any court in the same dispute.

dispute.

Procedure by Permanent Lok Adalat for Determination

Procedure by Permanent Lok Adalat for Determination

(Sec 22C & 22D

(Sec 22C & 22D of the Act)of the Act)

Where the PLA receives an application for determination of a dispute, Where the PLA receives an application for determination of a dispute,

1.The PLA should direct each party to file before it a written statement stating 1.The PLA should direct each party to file before it a written statement stating therein, all the facts and the nature of the dispute, points or issues and the therein, all the facts and the nature of the dispute, points or issues and the grounds in support or opposition. PLA may require the parties to file additional grounds in support or opposition. PLA may require the parties to file additional statements at any stage.

statements at any stage.

2.The party may also file any document or such other evidence, in proof of such 2.The party may also file any document or such other evidence, in proof of such facts and grounds urged.

facts and grounds urged.

3.The copy of the written statement and the documents or such other evidence 3.The copy of the written statement and the documents or such other evidence filed has to be sent to the other parties to the application.

filed has to be sent to the other parties to the application.

4.When the statement and additional statement and reply if any are filed, PLA 4.When the statement and additional statement and reply if any are filed, PLA shall conduct conciliation process between parties to the application, as it thinks shall conduct conciliation process between parties to the application, as it thinks fit, considering the circumstances of the dispute.

fit, considering the circumstances of the dispute.

5.PLA should assist the parties in their attempt to reach an amicable settlement, 5.PLA should assist the parties in their attempt to reach an amicable settlement, in an independent and impartial manner. Every party is duty bound to co-operate in an independent and impartial manner. Every party is duty bound to co-operate in good faith, in the conciliation process.

in good faith, in the conciliation process.

6.If after the conciliation process, the PLA is of an opinion that there exists 6.If after the conciliation process, the PLA is of an opinion that there exists elements of settlement in such proceedings, which may be acceptable to the elements of settlement in such proceedings, which may be acceptable to the parties, PLA may formulate the terms of a possible settlement of the dispute and parties, PLA may formulate the terms of a possible settlement of the dispute and

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give it for the consideration of the parties. If the parties are agreeable to the give it for the consideration of the parties. If the parties are agreeable to the same, they shall sign the same and PLA shall pass an award in terms of the same, they shall sign the same and PLA shall pass an award in terms of the settlement agreement.

settlement agreement.

7.If the parties are not agreeable to the settlement formulated, if the dispute is 7.If the parties are not agreeable to the settlement formulated, if the dispute is not an offence, then the PLA should decide the dispute on merits.

not an offence, then the PLA should decide the dispute on merits. 8.PLA sha

8.PLA shall, while ll, while conducconducting conciliatting conciliation proceedings or ion proceedings or decidideciding ng a a disputdispute e onon merit, shall be guided by the principle of natural justice, objectivity, fair play, merit, shall be guided by the principle of natural justice, objectivity, fair play, equity and other principles of justice.

equity and other principles of justice.

9.The PLA, when deciding a dispute on merit, shall not be bound by the Code of  9.The PLA, when deciding a dispute on merit, shall not be bound by the Code of  Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. 10.

10.EvEvery awarery award d mamade de by by the the PLPLA shalA shall l be be by by ththe e mamajojoririty ty of of ththe e perpersosonsns constituting the PLA.

constituting the PLA.

11.The award rendered by PLA shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court 11.The award rendered by PLA shall be deemed to be a decree of a civil court and shall be final. The PLA may transmit the award to the court having local and shall be final. The PLA may transmit the award to the court having local  jurisdiction for execution.

 jurisdiction for execution.

Right to Legal Aid:

Right to Legal Aid:

It is the duty of the State to see that the legal system promotes

It is the duty of the State to see that the legal system promotes

  justice on the basis of equal opportunity for all its citizens. It must

  justice on the basis of equal opportunity for all its citizens. It must

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access justice due to economic and other disabilities.

access justice due to economic and other disabilities.

---

(Art.39 A of the Constitution of India)

(Art.39 A of the Constitution of India)

Under this concept the State has provided categories of persons who

Under this concept the State has provided categories of persons who

are entitled for l

are entitled for legal services under this Act.

egal services under this Act.

Entitlement to Legal Services

Entitlement to Legal Services

(Section 12 of

(Section 12 of the Act)the Act)

Following persons are entitled for free legal aid under the Following persons are entitled for free legal aid under the

Act:----(i) A

(i) A member of schedumember of scheduled caste or scheduled caste or schedule tribes;le tribes;

(ii) A person whose annual income is not more than (ii) A person whose annual income is not more than Rs.50,000/-for cases beRs.50,000/-fore Supreme Court and Rs. 25,000/- in other courts; for cases before Supreme Court and Rs. 25,000/- in other courts; (iii) A

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(iv)Disabled, including mentally disabled; (iv)Disabled, including mentally disabled; (v) A

(v) A woman or woman or child;child;

(vi) A victim of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocities, (vi) A victim of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocities, flood, drought, earth quake, industrial disaster and other cases of  flood, drought, earth quake, industrial disaster and other cases of  undeserved want;

undeserved want;

(vii) An industrial workman; (vii) An industrial workman; (viii) A

(viii) A person in custodperson in custody including protective custody including protective custody;y;

((iixx) ) A A ppeerrssoon n ffaacciinng g cchhaarrgge e wwhhiicch h mmiigghht t rreessuullt t iin n hhiiss imprisonment;

imprisonment;

((xx)) A A ppeerrssoon n uunnaabblle e tto o eennggaagge e a a llaawwyyeer r aannd d sseeccuurre e lleeggaall services on account of reasons such as poverty and indigence. services on account of reasons such as poverty and indigence.

In

In (Khatri II Vs. State of Bihar, (1981) 1SCC; 1981 SCC (Cri) 228; 1981 Cri.(Khatri II Vs. State of Bihar, (1981) 1SCC; 1981 SCC (Cri) 228; 1981 Cri.

LJ 470)

LJ 470) itit has been held that the Constitutional duty to provide legal aid ariseshas been held that the Constitutional duty to provide legal aid arises from the time the accused is produced before the Magistrate for the first time from the time the accused is produced before the Magistrate for the first time and continues whenever he is produced for remand.

and continues whenever he is produced for remand. In

In (Madav Hayavada(Madav Hayavadanrao Hoskot Vs. nrao Hoskot Vs. State of State of MaharasMaharastra (1978)3 tra (1978)3 SCC 544)SCC 544)

it has been held that a person entitled to appeal against his/her sentence has it has been held that a person entitled to appeal against his/her sentence has the right to ask for a counsel, to prepare and argue the appeal.

the right to ask for a counsel, to prepare and argue the appeal.

Sec

Sectiotion n 304 of 304 of CriCriminminal al ProcProceduredure e CodCode e alsalso o proprovidevides s thathat t if if thethe accused does not have

accused does not have sufficient means to engage a lawyer,sufficient means to engage a lawyer, the court mustthe court must provide one for the defense of the accused at the expense of the state.

provide one for the defense of the accused at the expense of the state.

Beside this The Magistrates and sessions judges must inform every Beside this The Magistrates and sessions judges must inform every accused who appears before them and who is not represented by a lawyer on accused who appears before them and who is not represented by a lawyer on account of his poverty or indigence that he is entitled to free legal services at the account of his poverty or indigence that he is entitled to free legal services at the cost of the State.

cost of the State. In

In (Suk Das Vs.Union Territory ofArunachal Pradesh (1986) 2 SCC 401;(Suk Das Vs.Union Territory ofArunachal Pradesh (1986) 2 SCC 401;

1986 SCC (Cri) 166)

1986 SCC (Cri) 166) it has been held that failure to provide legal aid to anit has been held that failure to provide legal aid to an indigent accused, unless it was refused, would vitiate the trial. It might even indigent accused, unless it was refused, would vitiate the trial. It might even result in setting aside a conviction and sentence.

result in setting aside a conviction and sentence. When can Legal services be

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rejected---(i)If the applicant has adequate means to access justice; or  (i)If the applicant has adequate means to access justice; or  (ii) he does not fulfill the eligibility criteria; or 

(ii) he does not fulfill the eligibility criteria; or 

(iii) he has no merits in his application requiring legal action. (iii) he has no merits in his application requiring legal action. When can the legal services be

When can the legal services be withdrawithdrawn---

wn---The legal services committee can withdraw the services if, the aid is obtained The legal services committee can withdraw the services if, the aid is obtained through misrepresentation or fraud;

through misrepresentation or fraud;

any material change occurs in the circumstances of the aided person; there is any material change occurs in the circumstances of the aided person; there is misconduct, misbehavior or negligence on the part of the aided person;

misconduct, misbehavior or negligence on the part of the aided person; the aided person does not cooperate with the allotted advocate;

the aided person does not cooperate with the allotted advocate; the aided persons appoints another legal practitioner;

the aided persons appoints another legal practitioner; the aided person dies, except in civil cases;

the aided person dies, except in civil cases;

the proceedings amount to misusing the process of law or of legal service. the proceedings amount to misusing the process of law or of legal service. Cases for which legal aid is not available

Cases for which legal aid is not available --- ---Cas

Cases es in in resrespecpect t of of defadefamatmation, ion, malimaliciocious us prosprosecuecutiotion, n, concontemptemptt of of cocourturt,, perjury etc.

perjury etc.

Proceedings relating to election; Proceedings relating to election; Cases where the fine imposed is

Cases where the fine imposed is not more than Rs.50/-;not more than Rs.50/-; Economic offences and offences

Economic offences and offences against social laws;against social laws;

Cases where the person seeking legal aid is not directly concerned

Cases where the person seeking legal aid is not directly concerned with thewith the proceedings and whose

proceedings and whose interests will not be affected, if notinterests will not be affected, if not represented represented properlyproperly.. Whom to approach for free legal

Whom to approach for free legal

aid---The person who

The person who needs free legal aid needs free legal aid can approach the Legal can approach the Legal ServicServices Autes Authorityhority at any level- national, state, district or taluq. The request can be made to:

at any level- national, state, district or taluq. The request can be made to:

the Senior Civil judge nominated as the chairperson of the Mandal/Taluq Legal the Senior Civil judge nominated as the chairperson of the Mandal/Taluq Legal Services Authority;

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the Secretary

the Secretary, District Legal Serv, District Legal Services Aices Authority at the uthority at the district level;district level; the Secretary, High Court Legal Services Committee at the state level; the Secretary, High Court Legal Services Committee at the state level;

the Secretary, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee at the higher level; the Secretary, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee at the higher level; the member secretary of the state legal services authority;

the member secretary of the state legal services authority; the magistrate before whom s/he is produced;

the magistrate before whom s/he is produced; or the custodial authorities, if under detention. or the custodial authorities, if under detention. How to Approach?

How to Approach?

- A written application can be made to the concerned authority - A written application can be made to the concerned authority

 –

 – Where the person cannot read or write, the legal services authority willWhere the person cannot read or write, the legal services authority will

record his/her statement along with thumb impression. Such a statement record his/her statement along with thumb impression. Such a statement is treated as an application.

is treated as an application.

 –

 – The person who claims legal aid has to file an affidavit of his income.The person who claims legal aid has to file an affidavit of his income.

Steps involved in the process:

Steps involved in the process: The eligibility criteria and the merits of theThe eligibility criteria and the merits of the case are examined. If the application for legal aid is rejected, reasons shall case are examined. If the application for legal aid is rejected, reasons shall be duly recorded and also informed to the applicant.

be duly recorded and also informed to the applicant.

One important condition is that both parties in dispute should agree for  One important condition is that both parties in dispute should agree for  settlement through Lok Adalat and abide by its decision. A Lok Adalat has the settlement through Lok Adalat and abide by its decision. A Lok Adalat has the  jurisdiction to settle, by way of effecting compromise between the parties, any  jurisdiction to settle, by way of effecting compromise between the parties, any matter which may be pending before any court, as well as matters at matter which may be pending before any court, as well as matters at pre-litigation stage i.e. disputes which have not yet been formally instituted in any litigation stage i.e. disputes which have not yet been formally instituted in any Court of Law. Such matters may be civil or criminal in nature, but any matter  Court of Law. Such matters may be civil or criminal in nature, but any matter  relating to an offence not compoundable under any law cannot be decided by relating to an offence not compoundable under any law cannot be decided by the Lok Adalat even if the parties involved therein agree to settle the same. the Lok Adalat even if the parties involved therein agree to settle the same. The award passed by the Lok Adalat is the decision of the court itself  The award passed by the Lok Adalat is the decision of the court itself  though arrived at by the simpler method of conciliation instead of the process of  though arrived at by the simpler method of conciliation instead of the process of  arguments in court.

arguments in court.

The most important factor to

The most important factor to be considered while deciding the cases atbe considered while deciding the cases at the Lok Adalat is the consent of both the parties. It can not be forced on any the Lok Adalat is the consent of both the parties. It can not be forced on any party that the matter has to be decided by the Lok Adalat. However, once the party that the matter has to be decided by the Lok Adalat. However, once the parties agree that the matter has to be decided by the Lok Adalat, then any party parties agree that the matter has to be decided by the Lok Adalat, then any party cannot walk away from the decision of the Lok Adalat.

(11)

During the last few years Lok Adalat has been found to be a successful During the last few years Lok Adalat has been found to be a successful tool of alternate dispute resolution in India. It is most popular and effective tool of alternate dispute resolution in India. It is most popular and effective because of its innovative nature and inexpensive style. The system received because of its innovative nature and inexpensive style. The system received wi

wide de acacceceptptancance e nonot t ononly ly frfrom om ththe e lilititigagantsnts, , but but frofrom m ththe e pupublblic ic anand d lelegagall functionaries in general.

functionaries in general.

Therefore, it may be concluded that the system of Lok Adalat and Therefore, it may be concluded that the system of Lok Adalat and giving free legal aid to eligible persons is a very noble one which has helped giving free legal aid to eligible persons is a very noble one which has helped  judiciary not only in speedy disposal of cases but has given some relief to the  judiciary not only in speedy disposal of cases but has given some relief to the litigant, particularly to them who are poor and can not afford to claim their right litigant, particularly to them who are poor and can not afford to claim their right through court

through court of law.of law.

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Figure

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References

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