LOK ADALAT DECISIONS ARE NOT A PRECEDENT: The Lok Adalats are not a full-fledged court, its decisions are not a precedent in the eye of law. A bench of judges of the Apex court constituting of KM. Joseph and PS Narasimha raised the question that whether an award passed by a Lok Adalat under section 20 of the Legal Services Authority Act 1987 can form the foundation for exercising power under section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act 1894.
The Supreme Court while hearing an appeal filed by NOIDA setting aside a decree passed by the High Court of Allahabad against the NOIDA,
NOIDA issued a notification for acquisition of Land situated in Tehsil Dadri in the year 1983 for the purpose of industrial development and an amount of Rs 20 per square yard has been finalized to pay as compensation to the landowners. The Landowners accepted the amounts without raising any question. But a person named Fateh Muhammad challenged the award of November 28, 1984, and made it over to a Lok Adalat where NOIDA settled down the matter with the person in the year 2016 and agreed to pay Rs 297 per square yard instead of Rs 20 per yard as compensation to Fateh Muhammad.
It seems to be a drooling opportunity to the other Landowners and they filed a case with the hope of getting compensated by Rs 297 instead of Rs 20 per square yards where they successfully pleaded before the Allahabad High Court on the ground of “precedent”.
But, it has been held by the Supreme Court that the award passed by any Lok Adalat does not have any precedential effect in the eye of law. It is merely a compromise arrived between the parties before the Lok Adalat and the Apex Court while pronouncing the judgment disagreed with the High Court’s judgment and said that Lok Adalats are made to encourage the parties to settle amicably without going under the expensive and a pre-scheduled procedure of courts, even though the award passed by Lok Adalat has a value as a decree passed by any Civil Court but it cannot have the Precedential value as it does not pay for any Judicial Scrutiny. The compromise that arrived between the parties before any Lok Adalat cannot be pleaded as precedent before any court as it is not a result of any Court’s decision.