By SRELJ Bureau
In the period of turbulence caused by the pandemic, Legal Services Authorities creatively adapted to the new normal and moved Lok Adalat to the virtual platform. From June, 2020 to October 2020, 27 E-Lok Adalats have been organized in 15 States wherein 4.83 lakh cases were taken up and 2.51 lakh cases disposed of resulting in settlement of Rs 1409 cr. Further, during November 2020, E-Lok Adalats have been organized in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Telangana so far wherein 16,651 cases were taken up and 12,686 disposed of resulting in settlement of Rs 107.4 cr.
The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way in which the Legal Services Institutions function. To facilitate access to justice amidst the constraints placed by Covid-19 and various public health guidelines, the Legal Services Authorities have ingeniously integrated technology into its conventional methods of justice delivery. Online Lok Adalat popularly known as E -Lok Adalat is one such innovation of Legal Services Institutions where technology has been used to its maximum advantage and has become a platform to deliver justice at the doorstep of people. E- Lok Adalats are also cost effective as it eliminates the need for organisational expenses.
Organised by Legal Services Authorities, Lok Adalats (State as well as National) are an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mode wherein pre-litigation and pending cases in the courts are disposed on the basis of amicable settlement without any expense on the part of litigants. It is free of cost and expeditious method of bringing litigating parties on the same side and saving them from the rigours of trial under adversarial system of adjudication which is generally perceived to be time consuming, complex and costly. Lok Adalats are also instrumental in reducing the burden on arrears of the court disposal of long pending litigation between the parties.