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P.V. Philip v/s Praveen & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- PRAVEEN INDIA LTD . [Active] CIN = L21029WB1983PLC036326

Company & Directors' Information:- PRAVEEN & COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1999PTC098397

Company & Directors' Information:- PHILIP & CO LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U36900WB1930PLC019108

    OP(Crl.). No. 554 of 2019

    Decided On, 17 January 2020

    At, High Court of Kerala

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE R. NARAYANA PISHARADI

    For the Petitioner: B. Pramod, Advocate. For the Respondents: Ajith Murali, PP., R1, V.P. Mohammed Niyaz, J. Shereef, Advocates.



Judgment Text


1. This original petition is filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India for quashing Ext.P2 award passed by the Lok Adalat.

2. The petitioner is the accused in the case C.C.No.326/2018 on the file of the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alappuzha.

3. The aforesaid case is instituted upon the complaint filed against the petitioner by the first respondent under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The amount of the cheque involved in the case is Rs.3,00,000/-.

4. The aforesaid case was referred to Lok Adalat. The Adalat passed Ext.P2 award, which reads as follows:

“Complainant and accused are present. Discussed. Matter settled for Rs.5,13,000/- O.P.(Crl) No.554/2019 3 including the cheque involved in this case and in connection with another cheque of the same bank. Accused agreed to pay Rs.2,00,000/- to the complainant on or before 06.08.2019 and the balance amount of Rs.3,13,000/- on or before 30.11.2019. On the date of the payment the complainant agreed to return the other cheque to the accused on the receipt of the amount. Award passed.”

5. The petitioner has assailed Ext.P2 award on the ground that the Lok Adalat had no jurisdiction to pass an award in respect of a matter which was not referred to it.

6. Heard learned counsel for the petitioner and the first respondent/complainant.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the Lok Adalat had no jurisdiction to pass an award in a case which is not referred to it by a court or in a matter which is not referred to it by the Legal Services Authority or the Legal Services Committee concerned. Learned counsel for the petitioner pointed out that, as per Ext.P2 award, the Lok Adalat has decided a matter which was not referred to it by the District Legal Services Authority or the Taluk Legal Services Committee concerned and O.P.(Crl) No.554/2019 4 therefore, it is liable to be set aside.

8. Section 19 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) provides for organisation of Lok Adalats. Section 19(5) of the Act states that a Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of--(i) any case pending before; or (ii) any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any Court for which the Lok Adalat is organised.

9. Section 19(5) of the Act makes it clear that it has jurisdiction to consider either (i) a case pending before any court or (ii) any matter which is not brought before the court.

10. The manner in which a case or a matter can be taken cognizance of by the Lok Adalat is provided in Section 20 of the Act. As per Section 20(1) of the Act, a case pending before a court can be considered by the Lok Adalat only when the case is referred to the Lok Adalat by the court. How a matter which is not pending before a court can be taken cognizance of by the Lok Adalat is provided in Section 20(2) of the Act. It states that, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time O.P.(Crl) No.554/2019 5 being in force, the Authority or Committee organising the Lok Adalat under sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Act may, on receipt of an application from any one of the parties to any such matter, refer such matter to the Lok Adalat for determination.

11. Section 20 of the Act makes it clear that Lok Adalat can consider a case pending before a court only if the case is referred to it by the court and it can consider a matter not pending before a court only if the matter is referred to it by the Legal Services Authority or the Legal Services Committee concerned.

12. In the instant case, the Lok Adalat has passed a common award in the case C.C.No.326/2018, which was referred to it by the court and also in a matter relating to a cheque, which was not referred to it by the District Legal Services Authority or the Taluk Legal Services Committee concerned. The Lok Adalat has considered the dispute in C.C.No.326/2018, the case which was referred to it by the court. The Lok Adalat has also considered a matter relating to a cheque which was not pending before any court and which was not referred to it by the District O.P.(Crl) No.554/2019 6 Legal Services Authority or the Taluk Legal Services Committee. The Lok Adalat had no jurisdiction to consider the matter relating to the cheque, which was not the subject matter of dispute in the case C.C.No.328/2018, unless that matter had been referred to it by the District Legal Services Authority or the Taluk Legal Services Committee. Therefore, Ext.P2 award passed by the Lok Adalat has no sanctity in law and it is liable to be set aside.

13. Learned counsel for the first respondent submitted that the trial court has not disposed of the case C.C.No.326/2018 on the basis of Ext.P2 award. Learned counsel has also submitted that the first

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respondent has no objection to set aside Ext.P2 award and that the trial court may be directed to dispose of the case C.C.No.326/2018 in accordance with law. 14. In the result, the original petition is allowed. Ext.P2 award passed by the Lok Adalat is set aside. The trial court shall proceed with the trial of the case C.C.No.326/2018 and dispose of it in accordance with law. If the trial court has already disposed of the case C.C.No.326/2018 on the basis of Ext.P2 award, the aforesaid case shall stand restored to the file of the trial court.
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