An order passed by the Lok Adalat is final and one cannot appeal against it, ruled the Bombay High Court.
The court observed that an appeal would defeat the purpose of Lok Adalats.
Justice AV Mohta passed the ruling while rejecting an appeal filed by M/s Subhash Narasappa Mangrule, a Solapur-based partnership firm.
In 2000, the firm had borrowed Rs 5 lakh from Sidramappa Unnad to start a garments’ business.
On May 15, 2001, Narasappa Mangrule issued a cheque to Unnad to return the loan, which bounced. Unnad filed a criminal compliant in June 2001 against the firm and its two partners under the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The matter was referred to the Lok Adalat in July 2003 and Mangrule agreed to pay Rs 4 lakh. Unnad agreed to accept this amount and settle the case.
When Mangrule did not pay him the money, Unnad filed proceedings before the Civil Judge Junior Division (CJJD), Solapur. Mangrule filed an objection stating that the civil judge does not have jurisdiction to entertain matters involving more than Rs 1 lakh.
When CJJD rejected his objection and directed him to pay the amount, Mangrule approached the high court in 2007. The high court said: “The compromise in question as recorded by Lok Adalat is within the framework of law and every verdict of the Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decreed of civil court and final and binding on all the parties. Such an order is not even appealable.”
The high court added that once the parties entered into a compromise before the Lok Adalat and once the order is passed, it is executable under the Civil Procedure Court.
Refusing to interfere with the orders of the Lok Adalat and the execution decree by the CJJD, the high court dismissed the petition stating: “I am not inclined to dismiss the execution application on that count. It will frustrate the whole object of settlement and the award under the Act.”