Settlement of civil cases and compoundable criminal cases in Delhi courts is set to get faster with the Delhi High Court Chief Justice approving a policy to set up daily lok adalats in the city’s district courts. Soon, there will be at least one daily lok adalat in each of the 11 districts in Delhi, operating out of the district court complexes.
Daily lok adalats — a place for mediation-based approach to dispute resolution — are expected to reduce the caseload of courts drastically by disposing of disputes or small crimes where a settlement can be reached.
The daily adalats, according to Delhi State Legal Services Authority secretary (DLSA) Dharmesh Sharma, will take up all kinds of compoundable criminal offences and civil cases — ranging from loan recovery cases, Motor Vehicles Act cases, matrimonial disputes, custody/divorce cases, electricity bill disputes.
Presently, DLSA organises “mega” lok adalats every two weeks to resolve cases, under directions from the national legal services authority.
“If litigants are willing to enter into a settlement, they no longer have to wait till the next weekend to get their case heard and order passed. The daily adalat will give them the option of getting the settlement award that very day,” Sharma said.
Litigants can file an application before the district judge of each district, to have their cases taken up by the lok adalat.
According to the policy documents sent from the DLSA to all district courts, the lok adalats will be headed by a judicial officer of the Delhi Higher Judicial Services.
Officials said the adalats may also be headed by a CBI or NDPS special judge or any other sessions judge, with a fewer number of pending cases.
The judges will now sit every day from 4pm to 6 pm.
Retired judges may also be appointed to head the adalat benches. Along with these, a lok adalat bench headed by the DLSA secretary will sit every day from 10 am to 4 pm. The adalats will take up both pending and pre litigation cases.
While mediation centres have been created in all district courts, the adalats will lead to speedier disposal of cases.
“This will also put a streamlined lok adalat system in place as the present system has some shortcomings,” Sharma said.