Karnataka HC defines limits of Lok Adalat’s powers | India News

The Lok Adalat cannot entertain any applications where judicial orders are required as proceedings before it are not judicial in nature, the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka high court ruled recently.
“It may be a fact that a judicial officer presides over the Lok Adalat as a conciliator along with an advocate-conciliator. But such a judicial officer is not entitled to discharge the job of a ‘judge’ before the Lok Adalat: his role is only that of a conciliator,” Justice V Shrishananda pointed out in his order while allowing a petition filed by one Pooja, 25.
The resident of Indi in north Karnataka’s Vijayapura district had challenged an Oct 2007 compromise agreement passed by the taluk legal authority of Sindagi and the execution proceedings pending before the local JMFC court since 2018.
When Pooja was a minor, her grandfather Gunderao was representing her in a suit over the division of a property. The Lok Adalat, comprising the Sindagi civil judge (senior division) and JMFC as conciliator no. 1 and the member-secretary of the taluk legal services committee as conciliator no. 2, passed a compromise decree under order 23, rule 3, of CPC in the property suit.
According to order 23, when a compromise agreement is the basis of a court decree, the legality of the same cannot be questioned.
In 2018, Pooja received a notice in proceedings pertaining to the execution of the compromise decree which she challenged in the high court.
Justice Shrishananda noted that Lok Adalat is not a judicial forum.
“It is a settled principle of law that the petition filed under order 23, rule 3 of CPC is to be accepted by the court after entering satisfaction. Such a power is not available to the conciliators who preside over the Lok Adalat,” the judge said while setting aside the decree passed by it.
The judge directed the Sindagi court to dispose of the suit by the end of 2024.
However, he observed that the order will not come in the way of the parties if they intend to settle the dispute amicably.

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