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Lok adalats held to clear pending cases

Shillong, Nov. 25: Nearly 1,000 cases were disposed of by the people’s court or lok adalats across Meghalaya today.

Lok adalats, which were set up in Meghalaya High Court and lower courts of the state, had hectic hearings since this morning to speed up the delivery of justice to litigants who were involved in cases, including compoundable crimes.

Apart from the one in the high court, lok adalats were also conducted in various courts in all 11 districts and three civil subdivisions.

Today’s adalat was the first ever for Meghalaya High Court, created in March 2013 following amendments to the Constitution and to the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971.

The high court posted 28 cases mostly related to service matters, of which settlement was recorded in four cases.

“This is the first time that a lok adalat was conducted in the high court and we had a good response,” Meghalaya high court registrar-general Wanlura Diengdoh told this correspondent.

Maximum cases were taken up by the lok adalats held in various lower courts to settle disputes over motor accidents and maintenance claims, land and insurance-related disputes, besides pre-litigation cases pursued by different banks.

A total of 3,358 cases were put up for settlement in a friendly atmosphere, including 28 cases posted by Meghalaya High Court.

“Of the total cases, 972 were disposed of,” executive chairman of the Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority K.J. Lyngdoh said.

At the adalats heard by judicial officers and judges, the litigants discussed among themselves their long-pending disputes. While some parties ended the disputes by reaching to an understanding, many litigants disagreed and contented to pursue their case again in regular courts.

In East Khasi Hills district, the adalats, held at various lower courts, took up 951 cases including pre-litigations brought by various banks. Of these, 277 cases were disposed of in the district.

The office of the district and sessions judge, Shillong, recorded 41 settled cases (out of 250 cases), district council court of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council 21 (out of 106 cases) and deputy commissioner, Shillong 188 (out of 490). The adalat was also held separately for UBI at Eldorado here in which 27 cases were settled out of 105 pre-litigation cases. Courts in West Jaintia Hills district put up 416 cases, out of which, 65 cases were settled (see chart)

Though many cases could not be settled, the adalats, however, left both parties happy. As the process of settling disputes in regular courts consumes much time, lok adalats, if held regularly, will be a boon for litigants, especially the poor. These will also reduce number of pending cases.

In Meghalaya High Court alone, there are 1,184 pending cases as on July 31, 2013.