Lok Adalat: A guide to resolving pending property cases

With a surpassing rate of 6.25 lakh property holders paying tax in 2021, Lok Adalat is the alternative dispute redressal mechanism resolving pending property litigations across cities in India.

A statutory status provided by the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, Lok Adalat is formed to settle disputes pending at a pre-trial stage. Along with other Legal Service Institutions conducted by NALSA, it is regarded as a municipal court statute that handles cases rather amicably.

In a recent release on the ratio of property pending cases, it has been confirmed by the chairman of the standing committee, Hemant Rasane, that almost 500 cases are to be resolved as the civic body has decided to allow a 50% cut off on penalties if the tax payee concurs to clear his dues. 

Nonetheless, there is much confusion revolving around the idea of Lok Adalat and how it distinguishes it from any other civil court. Thus, the chances of settling property disputes through Lok Adalat can get slimmer, which isn’t convincing. Lok Adalat is the ideal forum for people who should not waste money or time getting regular taxation processes done. 

Therefore, let’s take a closer look at this alternative dispute resolution mechanism and how it helps property holders to clear the taxation process without wasting both time and money.

 The establishment & services of Lok Adalat

As mentioned above, it comes under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 but has been appealing visibly to people in recent years. Moreover, the forum of Lok Adalat is being conducted by NALSA to solve cases that have been presented before the court and require jurisdictional settlement on a basic level.

Lok Adalat of all states is bound to take cases that are pending and registered under any court. Also, disputes that are to be resolved through a civic body are strictly prohibited from taking money from the party. If the cases are referred to Lok Adalat from an apex court and get settled afterward, the petition’s court expense is refunded immediately.

Similar to any other civic body of a court, Lok Adalat also consists of Members. They play the role of statutory conciliators. However, they have no say in the jurisdiction department. This means the Members of Lok Adalat hold no right to announce a party to be wrong and can only persuade them to settle the matter outside the court. Furthermore, they retain no ownership to directly or indirectly coerce a party to compromise cases unlawfully.

The sole purpose of resolving a pending taxation case at Lok Adalat is that there is no meddling, as both parties are at liberty to settle the case and reach an amicable term with impartial assistance from the civic body/Members of the Adalat.  

Is Lok Adalat a legitimate forum to solve pre-litigation property tax disputes? 

Yes, it is. Lok Adalat is precisely a constitution dedicated to solving tax disputes that are not presented before a court or going through a long-term trial. 

Sometimes those cases referred to Lok Adalat fail within the jurisdiction, thereafter not coming to a verdict. However, the idea of such an institution is underrated within various cities in India. A country where one of the largest numbers of cases filed in a court is against holding tax payment for an uncertain period.

Therefore, to ensure that such incidents play a minor role in the societal development of the country, Lok Adalat plays an impressive part. As no harsh ruling or partial verdicts are being made at such forums, the PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) has collected over 1000 Cr tax obtained by the civic body. And, the number is higher than in previous financial years. Within four months in 2021, the ratio of tax settlement is increased by 6.25%, paid mainly by the default taxpayers.

It is indeed great to break down any confusion or illegal activism of taxation disputes if the case is taken to Lok Adalat. Without biased decisions or impartial behaviour, property cases are settled in Lok Adalat, keeping an adjustable status from the parties.

Also, there are a total of 4 levels of Lok Adalat a party can get guided to, such as State Authority Level, Higher Court Level, District Level, and Taluk Level. Each of them has the separate purpose of settling taxation cases, and according to the significance of taxation cases, the trials are referred to.

Finally, once the settlement is amended and confirmed by the party, the civic body of Lok Adalats generally offers two ways to clear tax payments; offline mode and online. Commonly, in a year, the revenue of such institutions earn up to 15,000 Cr to 20,000 Cr through these taxes.

Conclusion 

The people who are involved in property taxation cases and are not able to hold a grip on the matter should take their cases to a Lok Adalat. It is exponential for people who have been struggling with due tax-paying disputes for a long time, can get a verdict from the Members of Lok Adalat in an unbiased manner to reach the most agreeable sum of the litigation.

FAQs on Lok Adalat
  1. What Is Lok Adalat?

Lok Adalat is another statutory status provided by the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. NALSA, along with other legal services, conducts Lok Adalat, a forum where pending property cases get resolved.

2. Does it only solve pending property disputes?

Yes, the civic body of Lok Adalat is formed to assist parties in an unbiased manner to reach a satisfactory amount of tax payment. As far as disputes are concerned, they are pending or never presented before court cases.

3. Are there any tax cases resolved in Lok Adalat?

Yes. For a fact, there has been a 6.25% increase in tax settlement cases in Lok Adalat, confirmed by the chairman of the committee. The numbers are only growing in different cities of Lok Adalat in India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are for informational purposes only based on industry reports and related news stories. PropertyPistol does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.

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