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Types Of Courts In India

Types Of Courts In India

What Is A Lok Adalat?

  • The concept of Lok Adalat (People’s Court) is an innovative Indian contribution to the world jurisprudence.
  • The introduction of Lok Adalats added a new chapter to the justice dispensation system of this country and succeeded in providing a supplementary forum to the victims for a satisfactory settlement of their disputes.
  • This system is based on Gandhian principles.
  • It is one of the components of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) systems.
  • In ancient times, the disputes were referred to “Panchayats”, which were established at the village level.
  • Panchayats resolved the disputes through arbitration. It has proved to be a very effective alternative to litigation.
  • The First Lok Adalat was held in Gujarat in 1982.
  • Lok Adalat accepts the cases pending in the regular courts within their jurisdiction which could be settled by conciliation and compromise.
  • This concept of the settlement of disputes through mediation, negotiation or arbitration is conceptualized and institutionalized in the philosophy of Lok Adalat.
  • It involves people who are directly or indirectly affected by dispute resolution.

Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987

  • The advent of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 gave a statutory status to Lok Adalats, pursuant to the constitutional mandate in Article 39-A of the Constitution of India.
  • It contains various provisions for settlement of disputes through Lok Adalat.
  • This Act mandates constitution of legal services authorities to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.
  • It also mandates organization of Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity.

Statutory Provisions

  • The Central Government, taking note of the need for legal aid for the poor and the needy, had introduced Article 39 (A) in the Constitution in February 1977.
  • Article 39 A of the Constitution of India provides for equal justice and free legal aid. It is, therefore clear that the State has been ordained to secure a legal system, which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity.
  • The language of Article-39 A is understood in mandatory terms. This is made more than clear by the use of the word “shall” in Art-39 A.
  • It is emphasized that the legal system should be able to deliver justice expeditiously on the basis of equal opportunity and provide free legal aid to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizens by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
  • It was in this context that the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has been enacted by the Parliament. One of the aims of this Act is to organize Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity.
  • Chapter VI of the Act deals with Lok Adalats. The Act created National, State and District Legal Service Authorities with the power to organize Lok Adalats.
  • The poor and resourceless persons need justice, they require for that, an access to justice.
  • Mere recognition of rights does not help them, without providing for necessary infrastructure to secure them justice whenever needed.
  • Even if the infrastructure is created, if he does not get the ‘legal aid’ to reach it, the purpose of entire justice system suffers a defeat.

Salient features of Lok Adalat

  • It is based on settlement or compromise reached through systematic negotiations.
  • It is one among the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) systems. It is an alternative to “Judicial Justice”.
  • It is a win – win system where all the parties to the dispute have something to gain.
  • The award can be passed by Lok Adalat, only after obtaining the assent of all the parties to dispute.
  • The parties to a dispute can interact directly with the presiding officer, which is not possible in the case of a court proceeding.
  • It is economical – No court fee is payable. If any court fee is paid, it will be refunded.
  • A Permanent Lok Adalat can pass an award on merits, even without the consent of parties. Such an award is final and binding. From that no appeal is possible.
  • Lok Adalat is having certain powers of a civil court.
  • Lok Adalat is deemed to be civil court for certain purposes.
  • An award passed by the Lok Adalat is final and no appeal is maintainable from it.
  • The award passed by the Lok Adalat is deemed to be a decree of a civil court.
  • An award passed by the Lok Adalat can be executed in a court.                                            Types Of Courts In India
  • The appearance of lawyers on behalf of the parties, at the Lok Adalat is not barred. (Regulation 39 of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority Regulations, 1998.
  • Code of Civil Procedure and Indian Evidence Act are not applicable to the proceedings of Lok Adalat.

Jurisdiction of Lok Adalats

A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of:

  • Any case pending before; or
  • Any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any court for which the lok adalat is organized.
  • The lok adalat can compromise and settle even criminal cases, which are compoundable under the relevant laws.

Cases Suitable For Lok Adalats

Lok Adalats have competence to deal with a number of cases like:

  • Compoundable civil, revenue and criminal cases.
  • Motor accident compensation claims cases
  • Partition Claims
  • Damages Cases
  • Matrimonial and family disputes
  • Mutation of lands case
  • Land Pattas cases
  • Bonded Labour cases
  • Land acquisition disputes
  • Bank’s unpaid loan cases
  • Arrears of retirement benefits cases
  • Family Court cases
  • Cases which are not sub-judice

Permanent Lok Adalat

  • The other type of Lok Adalat is the Permanent Lok Adalat, organized under Section 22-B of The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
  • Permanent Lok Adalats have been set up as permanent bodies with a Chairman and two members for providing compulsory pre-litigative mechanism for conciliation and settlement of cases relating to Public Utility Services like transport, postal, telegraph etc. Here, even if the parties fail to reach to a settlement, the Permanent Lok Adalat gets jurisdiction to decide the dispute, provided, the dispute does not relate to any offence.
  • Further, the Award of the Permanent Lok Adalat is final and binding on all the parties. The jurisdiction of the Permanent Lok Adalats is upto Rs. Ten Lakhs. Here if the parties fail to reach to a settlement, the Permanent Lok Adalat has the jurisdiction to decide the case.
  • The award of the Permanent Lok Adalat is final and binding upon the parties.
  • The Lok Adalat may conduct the proceedings in such a manner as it considers appropriate, taking into account the circumstances of the case, wishes of the parties like requests to hear oral statements, speedy settlement of dispute etc.                                                Types Of Courts In India

Advantages Of Lok Adalats

  • Speedy Justice And Saving From The Lengthy Court Procedures
  • Justice At No Cost
  • Solving Problems Of Backlog Cases
  • Maintenance Of Cordial Relations

Family courts

  • The Family Courts Act, 1984 provides for establishment of Family Courts by the State Governments in consultation with the High Courts with a view to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs

Main features of Family courts

  • To take the cases dealing with family matters away from the intimidating atmosphere of regular courts and ensure that a congenial environment is set up to deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody etc.                                                  Types Of Courts In India
  • To tackle the problem of pendency by improving the efficiency of the system, where courts are equipped with counselors and psychologists to ensure that while there may be core legal issues to be dealt with; there is also a human and psychological dimension to be dealt with in these matters.
  • It is mandatory for the State Government to set up a Family Court for every area in the State comprising a city or a town whose population exceeds one million.

Functioning of Family courts

  • Own rules– The Family Courts are free to evolve their own rules of procedure, which over ride the rules of procedure contemplated under the Code of Civil Procedure.
  • Conciliation– Special emphasis is put on settling the disputes by mediation and conciliation, when the matter is solved by an agreement between both the parties, it reduces the chances of any further conflict.
  • Away from legal system– The cases are kept away from the trappings of a formal legal system, which can be a very traumatic experience for the families and lead to personal and financial losses that can have a devastating effect on human relations as well.
  • No legal representation– A party is not entitled to be represented by a lawyer without the express permission of the Court.
  • Appointment of experts– Conciliators are professionals who are appointed by the Court.
  • Method– The proceedings before the Family Court are first referred to conciliation and only when the conciliation proceedings fail to resolve the issue successfully, the matter taken up for trial by the Court.
  • Appeal– Once a final order is passed, the aggrieved party has an option of filing an appeal before the High Court.

Gram Nyayalayas

  • Gram Nyayalayas or village courts are established under the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 for speedy and easy access to justice system in the rural areas of India.
  • The Act came into force from 2 October 2009.                                          Types Of Courts In India


  • The Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have the same power, enjoy same salary and benefits of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class. Such Nyayadhikari are to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.
  • Gram Nyayalayas can follow special procedures in civil matters, in a manner it deem just and reasonable in the interest of justice.
  • Gram Nyayalayas allow for conciliation of the dispute and settlement of the same in the first instance.

Jurisdiction of Gram Nyayalayas

  • A Gram Nyayalaya have jurisdiction over an area specified by a notification by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.
  • The Court can function as a mobile court at any place within the jurisdiction of such Gram Nyayalaya, after giving wide publicity to that regards.
  • They have both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the offences.
  • The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Nyayalayas are fixed by the respective High Courts.                                    Types Of Courts In India
  • Gram Nyayalayas has been given power to accept certain evidences which would otherwise not be acceptable under Indian Evidence Act.

Appeals under Gram Nyayalayas

  • Appeal in criminal cases shall lie to the Court of Session, which shall be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of such appeal.
  • Appeal in civil cases shall lie to the District Court, which shall be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of the appeal.

CBI courts

  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating police agency in India.
  • It functions under the superintendence of the Deptt. of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India – which falls under the prime minister’s office.
  • However for investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, its superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
  • It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries.

Cases Handled by the CBI

  • Economic Crimes – for investigation of major financial scams and serious economic frauds, including crimes relating to Fake Indian Currency Notes, Bank Frauds and Cyber Crime, bank frauds, Import Export & Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques, cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc.
  • Anti-Corruption Crimes – for investigation of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Public officials and the employees of Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, Corporations or Bodies owned or controlled by the Government of India.                            Types Of Courts In India
  • Suo Moto Cases – CBI can suo-moto take up investigation of offences only in the Union Territories.
  • Special Crimes – for investigation of serious and organized crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests of State Governments or on the orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts – such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.
  • The Supreme Court and High Courts, however, can order CBI to investigate a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the State.
  • The Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate a crime in a State but only with the consent of the concerned State Government.


Indian Polity

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