The Rajasthan High Court, in the case of Shyam Bacchani Vs. State Of Rajasthan S.B. Criminal Writ Petition No. 365/2023 has held that Lok Adalats within the country have no adjudicatory power. The court was tasked with deciding whether Lok Adalats under Chapter VI of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, had adjudicatory power or simply needed to pass awards based on an agreement between the parties.
The Lok Adalat, Jaipur Bench authorized the Assistant Public Prosecutor to discontinue the criminal prosecution stemming from an FIR, so absolving the accused of charges under Sections 323 and 341 of the IPC. The Petitioner was an informant in the same FIR, which revealed a conflict between two neighbours, after which the Police filed a charge sheet for a crime per Sections 341 and 323 of the IPC.
The court then held, “A perusal of the entire scheme under Chapter VI (supra) as well as the referred provisions aforesaid would make it clear that that the Lok Adalats have no adjudicatory power and by allowing the prayer of learned Public Prosecutor to withdraw prosecution, the Lok Adalat has exercised adjudicatory jurisdiction which is not vested in it. In the result, the impugned order passed by the Lok Adalat is hereby quashed and this Writ Petition is allowed.”