Friday, December 2, 2011
"Award by Lokadalat in criminal Case on Settlement is an executable Decree in civil court " - SC
Hon. Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam of Supreme Court of India has recently redefined the meaning of the legal services rendered in Lokadalat, with a significant interpretation of Section 21 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, while finally adjudicating a CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10209 OF 2011, preferred by the appellant r. K.N. Govindan Kutty Menon, and the Apex Court has set up a landmark judicial precedent about the effect of an award, derived by our Lokadalat in a criminal case under the provisions of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The Question posed for the consideration before the Apex Court was that when a criminal case filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 referred to by the Magistrate Court to Lok Adalat is settled by the parties and an award is passed recording the settlement, can it be considered as a decree of a civil court and thus executable? And after a detailed interpretation about the provisions of Legal Services Authority Act and about the meaning of Lokadalat, the Hon. Apex Court ultimately has further observed that " Section 21 of this Act, contemplates a deeming provision, hence, it is a legal fiction that the "award" of the Lok Adalat is a decree of a civil court. In the case on hand, when a criminal case referred to by the Magistrate to a Lok Adalat is settled by the parties and award is passed recording the settlement, then every award passed by the Lok Adalat has be deemed to be a decree of a civil court and as such executable by that court."
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