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Supreme Court: Lok Adalat has no Jurisdiction to decide Merit based Cases

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Sanika Deshpande –

Published On: October 18, 2021, at 12:45 IST

The Apex Court observed that Lok Adalats have no Jurisdiction to decide the matter of merits once found that Compromise or Settlement cannot be reached between the Parties.

The Court also said that if the Lok Adalat fails to arrive at a settlement, they have to return the file to the concerned Court.

“The Lok Adalat has no Jurisdiction at all to decide the matter on merits once it is found that compromise or settlement could not be reached between the parties,” a bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna said.

This judgement was passed on the Appeal filed by the Estate Officer challenging a 2013 order by the Madhya Pradesh High Court by which in the Lok Adalat members had entered into merits of Writ Petition and had Dismissed the Case on merits.

The Court for its part, said, “A fair reading of the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 makes it clear that the Jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat would be to determine and to arrive at a compromise or a Settlement between the parties to a Dispute.”

In any case, the Lok Adalat has no Jurisdiction at all to decide the matter on merits, once it is found that compromise or settlement could not be arrived at between the parties,” the Bench added.

Also Read: Supreme Court: Civil Courts lacks Jurisdiction on Provisions under ID Act