||Introduction to Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services)
Section 22 (B) of Chapter VI (A) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 provides for establishment of Permanent Lok Adalats in respect of Public Utility Services.
Following are Public Utility Services:-
- Transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by air, road or water.
- Postal, Telegraph or Telephone Service.
- Supply of power, light or water to the public by any establishment.
- System of public conservancy or sanitation.
- Service in Hospital or Dispensary.
- Insurance Service.
- Banking and Financial Institutions
In Union Territory of Chandigarh, Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services was established on 09.11.2003. It functions from Employment Exchange Building adjoining bridge opposite Mehfil Restaurant, Sector-17, Chandigarh.
The Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services is presided by Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.K. Kapoor, Retd. Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Brig. S.K. Gupta, (Retd.) and Sh. V.K. Kapoor (IPS) Retd. (w.e.f. 01.07.2011) are its Members.
Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services is an innovative mechanism. While other Lok Adalats decide the matters on the basis of compromise or settlement between the parties, Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services has additional powers. Sub-Section 8 of Section 22C stipulates that where the parties fail to reach at an agreement/settlement, the Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services shall, if dispute does not relates to any offence, decide the dispute on merit. Obviously while conducting conciliation proceedings or deciding a dispute on merit the Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services is an expected to be guided by the principles of natural justice, objectivity, fair play and equity.
Like any other Lok Adalat, the Award passed by Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services either in terms of settlement or on merits is final and binding on all the parties and shall be deemed to be a decree of a Civil Court.
Normal Lok Adalats decide the disputes both at pre-litigative and post-litigative stages. However, the Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services has the jurisdiction only at pre-litigative stage, meaning thereby that the dispute should not be pending in any Court before it is brought before Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services.
Pecuniary jurisdiction of Permanent Lok Adalat for Public Utility Services is upto Rs.10 lacs.
||Introduction to Permanent Lok Adalat
In order to achieve the aims and objectives of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and to settle the disputes between the parties amicably and expeditiously, a Permanent Lok Adalat was established in the District Courts Complex, Sector-17, Chandigarh on 07.08.1998, which was inaugurated by the then Hon’ble Chief Justice A.B. Saharaya, Punjab and Haryana High Court. This happened to the first Permanent Lok Adalat in the country which is functioning in the District Courts Complex, Chandigarh on all working days.
The Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority, U.T., Chandigarh also acts as Judge, Permanent Lok Adalat. The Permanent Lok Adalat for pre-litigative matters is held five days week from 11.00 am onwards in the office of S.L.S.A, Additional Deluxe Building, Ground floor,Sector-9, U.T, Chandigarh. The Lok Adalat for post-litigative matters i.e. the matters referred by the different Courts is held in the District Courts Complex, Sector-17, Chandigarh from 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.