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2021 (10) TMI 377 - Indian Laws
Jurisdiction - order passed in the Lok Adalat as regards the merits of the case and dismissing the same without sending back to High Court - settlement not arrived at, between the parties - whether in the Lok Adalat held by the High Court, was it open for the members of the Lok Adalat to enter into the merits of the writ petition and to dismiss the same on merits, in absence of any settlement arrived at between the parties? - HELD THAT:- A fair reading of various provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 makes it clear that the jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat would be to determine and to arrive at a compromise or a settlement between the parties to a dispute and once the aforesaid settlement / compromise fails and no compromise or settlement could be arrived at between the parties, the Lok Adalat has to return the case to the Court from which the reference has been received for disposal in accordance with law and in any case, the Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction at all to decide the matter on merits once it is found that compromise or settlement could not be arrived at between the parties.
The submission made by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent that once the matter was placed before the Lok Adalat with consent, thereafter the entire matter is at large before the Lok Adalat and, therefore, the Lok Adalat is justified in disposing the matter on merits has no substance and the same is required to be rejected outright - The consent to place the matter before the Lok Adalat was to arrive at a settlement and or a compromise between the parties and not for placing the matter before the Lok Adalat for deciding the matter on merits - Once there is no compromise and/or a settlement between the parties before the Lok Adalat, as provided in sub-section (5) of Section 20, the matter has to be returned to the Court from where the matter was referred to Lok Adalat for deciding the matter on merits by the concerned court.
The impugned order passed by the Lok Adalat dismissing the writ petition on merits is unsustainable and deserves to be quashed and set aside - matter is remanded to the High Court to decide the petition on merits and in accordance with law - petition restored.