The union ministry of law and justice has informed the Punjab and Haryana high court that the proposal to amend the rules for revising service conditions of members of permanent lok adalats has been sent to the union finance ministry for approval.
The information has been submitted by law secretary PK Malhotra in response to a notice issued to him by the high court in a contempt of court petition.
Taking up a public interest litigation seeking improvement in the service conditions of members of permanent lok adalats (utility services) in Punjab, the high court had, in January, directed the union ministry of law and justice to take a decision on the issue within a month. However, when the ministry concerned failed to comply, the petitioner filed the contempt petition on which notices were issued to the Centre in May.
There are around 28 such members of permanent lok adalats in Punjab. They are appointed on the basis of their past experience in public utility services and administration, such as banks and government jobs. The petitioner had submitted that members of permanent lok adalats were being paid Rs 500 per day and the conveyance allowance also on per-sitting basis. But at the same time, chairpersons of such adalats were getting salary last drawn in judicial service minus their pension and the conveyance allowance of Rs 3,000 per month.
The court was also informed that members of the Chandigarh Police Complaints Authority were being paid sitting fee of Rs 3,000 per day, but the members of permanent lok adalats were being treated poorly.