Lok Adalats – A Dispute Resolution Mechanism


Lok Adalat can be considered as an Alternate Dispute Redressal System. It is an available option to the resolve the dispute which could be pending at the court of law and can be resolved upon at a pre-litigation stage amicably. The decree by the Lok Adalat is held valid like any other court of law. There is no provision to file any appeal against the decree of Lok Adalat but in case of any dissatisfaction, the parties are free to initiate a process of litigation which they can exercise as a right. There are no fees as such when the matter comes for resolution under Lok Adalat unlike the court of law. The people handling the matters in the Lok Adalat are called members of Lok Adalat and do not have any judiciary role. These members are just said to be statutory conciliators. Lok Adalat does not decide the matter but the members rather assist the parties individually with respect to the legal provisions to reach amicable settlement of the dispute. Jurisdiction of Lok Adalats is the same as that of civil courts.

Types of Lok Adalat

Lok Adalats are conducted from Supreme Court to Taluka level. Authorities such as State Authority, District Authority, Supreme Court, High Court and Taluk Legal Services Committee can organise Lok Adalats. The main difference between them is as follows:

Permanent Lok AdalatTemporary Lok Adalat
It is a permanent body.1. It is a temporary body.
It is into existence forever and not organised in certain time durations.2. It is organised time to time after certain time intervals.
3. Parties can directly approach this   permanent body.3. Parties can go through this body only through the court.
4. There is a limit of jurisdiction of ₹1 crore.4. There is no limit monetarily.
5. If settlement is not achieved, this Adalat can give a binding decision.5. If settlement is not achieved, the dispute moves to the court.

There has also been a type of Lok Adalat named Mobile Lok Adalat. These Adalats travel from once place to another and don’t have any permanent location under its jurisdiction. They are organized in various parts of the country in order to facilitate the resolution.

Composition of Lok Adalat

There are 4 members present in a Lok Adalat in the following composition:

1. Sitting/Retired Judicial Officer as Chairman

2. 2 more members: A Lawyer and a Social Worker

Powers of Lok Adalat

1. Witness Examination on Oath

2. To order witnesses

3. Discovering and thus producing the documents

4. Requisitioning of any public record or document

5. Has the Power of Civil Court

6. Can receive evidence

 Specific Features of Lok Adalat

1. No court fees to be paid.

2. Provides speedy trial for disputes.

3. Award is final and binding on both parties (Applicable only to Permanent Lok Adalats).

4. Direct interaction with the conciliators possible unlike in the court.

5. Easy and simple proceedings based on logic and common sense.


It is the duty of the Lok Adalat to arrive at a compromise or a settlement between the parties with respect to the cases which are pending in the court falling under its jurisdiction. But, these Adalats are not supposed to have jurisdiction for the matters relating to an offence, which are not compoundable under any provision in the law.


It can be thus concluded that Lok Adalat is the alternative to resolve the dispute parallel to the pending court matters. It is not only relatively speedy but is also economically beneficial as there are no court fees involved. Lok Adalats accept the cases which come under their jurisdiction and competence and they are mainly used to settle the disputes with respect to matrimony, road accidents, dispute involving revenue, electricity bills, land acquisition and so on. It also serves a great platform for dispute resolution with respect to labours and contractors. With respect to temporary Lok Adalat, the dispute can be even escalated to the court provided no satisfaction is achieved between the parties. The resolution achieved cannot be forced upon the parties and consent is mandatory.

Article by Mr. Saurabh Pawar in June, 2021 while interning at the Chambers of Advocate Shankarlal Raheja.

Disclaimer: The views herein are personal and while careful attention has been given to ensure that the information is accurate the author assumes no liability or responsibility for any reliance thereon. This article is merely an information-sharing activity and is not a substitute for legal advice. It must be noted that we shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused due to any reliance thereof.