State Lok Adalats unable to dispose off 96% cases

57.3% cases pending, 39.1% reached no settlement: Report

Ahmedabad: Lok Adalats, which have been instituted to help lower the burden of the courts, deal with conciliation and pre-litigation cases. According to the India Justice Report (IJR), 2019 released at the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) on Saturday, there are four Permanent Lok Adalats (PLAs) in the state but are unable to settle 95% of the total number of cases received.

The state disposed off 3.6% of all pre-litigation cases taken, while 57.3% remained pending. The other 39.1% remained unable to reach a settlement and opted for other tools for settlement. Gujarat ranks 13 out of 18 states surveyed for settlement of cases in PLAs.

The report surveyed 18 mid-size and small states, which was supportd by data from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The report mentioned that pre-litigation cases accounted for half the cases taken up in Lok Adalats by State Legal Services Authorities. Most of the states did not manage to dispose of pre-litigation cases at a good pace.

It was mentioned in the report that Gujarat utilized less than 80% of the funds granted by NALSA for legal aid activities, awareness and advice. The state also holds an average of 19% women panel lawyers, which means nearly 1 out of 5-panel lawyers was a woman. The national average stands at 18%.

Shireen Vakil, head of policy and advocacy at Tata Trusts said, “The report was the result of an 18-month long intensive and rigorous quantitative research. For the first time, all the pillars of the justice system have been covered including police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid. This report may prove to be a useful tool for state governments and civil society to improve access to justice for all.”