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New Delhi: Conceivably the most prevalent challenge faced by the Indian judiciary is the backlog of cases. The growing number of pending cases is only creating a burden on the judiciary. Under such circumstances, the judiciary is unable to devote the right amount of time to cases thus leading to a prolonged hearing date.

The solution to this problem involves not only increasing the number of courts and judges but also an easier model of the judicial system. TS Thakur, the Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), who is also in line to be the next Chief Justice of India pointed out on Monday the importance of Lok Adalats as an alternate dispute redressal mechanism.

He suggested that Lok Adalats were effective and had the potential to relieve the judiciary of its burden. “Lok Adalats have been effective and have relieved the judiciary of a huge burden of a trial, appeals and revision proceedings and resultant delays in the disposal of these matters,” said TS Thakur.

The Lok Adalat is an innovative Indian contribution to the jurisprudence and has proved to be a good alternative to the judiciary. The system has been practised at the grassroot level of the society for quite long and the legal terminology for it is just an arbitration. In Lok Adalat (People’s Court), justice is dispensed summarily without too much emphasis on legal technicalities.

Lok Adalat benefits the entire system as well as the people. There is no court fee for the people and if the case is already filed then the applicant is provided a refund. There is no strict application procedure and it is a faster and low-cost remedy to legal issues.

Justice Thakur also pointed out the fact that this procedure was already applied in several places and had witnessed huge success. “It is also pertinent to mention that as on 30th September, a total of more than 15.14 lakh Lok Adalats has been organised in the country, where 8.25 crore cases, including cases pending in the courts as well as those in the pre-litigation stage, have been settled,” he said in his address on Legal Services Day and Commendation Ceremony.

The NALSA Act is a worthy method to lower the pressure from courts as well as the people troubled by expansive and confusing litigating techniques. If the NALSA act gains awareness, it would help the poor and uninformed to have an equally fair chance for justice.

Justice Thakur also asked All India Radio and Delhi Doordarshan not to charge NALSA and the State Legal Services Authorities (SALSAs) in promoting legal awareness among the masses and urged for the Prime Minister’s support in this move.


Photo by Flickr.

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