On the 22nd of August 2020, the Rajasthan State Legal Service Authority (RSLSA) organized its first e-Lok Adalat. In the wake of the financial crisis and restricted judicial functioning owing to the novel Coronavirus Pandemic, various States in India have been resorting to ensure the administration of justice via virtual hearings conducted to video conferencing.
The RSLSA organized their inaugural e-Lok Adalat all over the State which was graced by various prestigious dignitaries such as Hon’ble Mr. Justice N. V. Ramana, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, National Legal Services Authority; Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ajay Rastogi, Judge, Supreme Court of India; Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Judge, Supreme Court of India; Hon’ble Mr. Justice Indrajit Mahanty, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court & Patron-in-Chief RSLSA; and Justice Sangeet Raj Lodha, Judge Rajasthan High Court & Executive Chairman, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority.
His Lordship, Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.V. Ramana, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Executive Chairman, NALSA said that the concept of Online Lok Adalat has the potential of transforming the legal landscape of India, and is reflective of the innovative approach being adopted by Legal Services Authorities since the onset of the pandemic. He said “We have to ensure the e-Lok Adalat remains the ‘People’s Lok Adalat’, and take it to other parts of the country. As a result of the pandemic, people’s lives have changed drastically. The social stigma with respect to the disease had led to a number of issues such as forced evictions of frontline workers, families of COVID patients, and even of people who are merely suspected of having the illness.” Thereby emphasizing the need and role of NALSA in ensuring justice in such unprecedented times, in an accessible manner.
In its maiden hearing, 47,654 cases were taken up out of which 33,476 cases were settled. Out of the settled cases, 29092 cases were pending in the courts, and 4384 were settled at the prelitigation stage.
The first-ever e-Lok Adalat in India was successfully initiated in the State of Chhattisgarh in the month of July 2020 inaugurated by Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, executive chairman of the Chhattisgarh State Legal Services Authority. In its pioneer step towards online dispute resolution, importance was given to mitigating monetary disputes in the State.