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2012 Legal Eagle(Gau) 705

IN THE GAUHATI HIGH COURT

Equivalent Citations : 2013 (1) GLR 457

Before : S.C.Das

Land Acquisition Collector


Versus

Hamendra Sharma and Anr. (And Other Cases)

Case No. : WP(C) No(s). 90, 91, 92, 93 and 121 of 2003

Date of Decision : 06-Jul-2012

Advocates Appeared:
Mr. S. Deb , Mr. D.C. Nath for the petitioner.

Mr. RK. Biswas , Mr. O.K. Biswas for the respondents.

HEADNOTE :
Administrative Law -- Lok Adalat -- Case of land acquisition had been heard and award passed by the
Lok Adalat -- Land Acquisition Collectors power to challenge the Award is upheld -- Upon application

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for review, the Lok Adalat had reviewed its previous order, which is held to be without jurisdiction -Impugned order reviewing own order is set aside -- Writ petition disposed of -- Sections 19 and 20 of
Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

STATUTES REFERRED:
1. Constitution of India,1950, Article 226
2. Legal Services Authorities Act,1987, Section 19
3. Legal Services Authorities Act,1987, Section 20

CASES REFERRED:
Kanwar Singh Saini v. High Court of Delhi, (2012) 4 SCC 307.
Kalabharati Advertising v. Hemant Vimalnath Narichania,(2010) 9 SCC 437.
B.P. Moideen Sevamandir v. A.M. Kutty Hasan, (2009) 2 SCC 198.
State of Punjab v. Jalour Singh (2008) 2 SCC 660.
State of Punjab v. Jalour Singh, AIR 2008 SC 1209.
AIR 2008 SC 1209.

JUDGMENT/ORDER:

1. Common questions of law raised in all the writ petitions and hence, on the prayer of the parties, all
the five writ petitions are taken up together for hearing and disposal. This single order shall govern all
the cases.

2. Heard learned senior counsel, Mr. S. Deb, assisted by learned counsel, Mr. D.C Nath for the writ
petitioners and learned A.S.G., Mr. P.K. Biswas for respondent No.2 of the writ petitions and learned
counsel, Mr. D.K. Biswas for respondent No.1 in WP(C) No.91/2003. In other writ petitions, the
respondent No.1 has chosen to remain absent.

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3. In WP(C) Nos.90, 91, 92 and 93 of 2003 respondent No.1 submitted counter-affidavit. In WP(C) No.
121/2003 no counter affidavit is filed by the respondent No.1.

4. The case of the petitioners is that for the purpose of construction of 22 Assam Rifle Complex at Mouja
- Kamalacherra under Kulai Tahashil Kachari, on a requisition made by Union of India through
respondent No.2, certain 21.4 acres of land were proposed for acquisition and accordingly, the
Notification, dated 7.8.1999 under section 4 and the declaration, dated 19.2.2000, under section 6 of
the Land Acquisition Act, were issued vide Annexures 1 and 2, respectively of the writ petitions. While
the acquisition process was going on, respondent No.1 of the respective writ petitions approached the
Chairman, Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee, Kamalpur with a dispute regarding lands in question
and based on such approach, made by the respective respondent No.1 of the writ petitions, Lok Adalat
was constituted by the Chairman of such Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee and the respective
petitions filed by respondent No.1 of the writ petitions, pre-litigative disputes for settlement in Lok
Adalat, were registered. Applications filed by the respective respondent No. 1 of the writ petitions
before the Lok Adalat were registered as pre-litigative disputes. The application filed by respondent
No.1 of WP(C) No.90/ 2003 was registered as pre-litigative dispute No.8/2002; application filed by
respondent No.1 of WP(C) No.91/2003 was registered as pre-litigative dispute No.7/2002; application
filed by respondent No.1 of WP(C) No.92/2003 was registered as pre-litigative dispute No.9/2002;
application filed by respondent No.1 of WP(C) No.93/2003 was registered as pre-litigative dispute No.
10/2002 and the application filed by respondent No.1 of WP(C) No.123/2003 was registered as prelitigative dispute-No. 16/2002.

5. The writ petitioners, i.e., L.A. Collector and the respondent No.2 were served with a notice to appear
before Lok Adalat and accordingly they appeared and the Lok Adalat, vide order dated 18.8.2002,
disposed the cases, without having any settlement on compromise, passing an identical order in the
case, which is marked as Annexure 6 to all the writ petitions. For ready reference, order dated
18.8.2002, passed in pre-litigative dispute No. 8/2002 [Annexure 6 to WP(C) No. 90/2003] is reproduced
which reads, thus :

"Order dated 18.8.2002

This is a case where certain khash lands have been included in the Land Acquisition Proceeding and then
given possession to the Assam Rifles. From the Record of Right it appears that Plot No.684 is in khash
khatian No. 1/20 and in column 24 the lands have been recorded in possession of Sri Hememdra
Sharma. Admittedly no notice was served on him before the land was included in the L.A. Proceeding.

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The khash land can never come in L.A. Proceeding. It was possible for the State Government or the D.M.
and Collector to allot the land in favor of Assam Rifles after evicting any unauthorized occupant. This has
not been done in this case. L.A. Collector has acted beyond his jurisdiction by including khash lands in
occupation of Sri Hemendra Sharma for the L.A. Proceeding. Therefore, the order of L.A. Collector is not
legally valid.

This court decided that the land should be vacated by Assam Rifles and if in future the State
Government so decides the same land may be allotted in favour of the Assam Rifles after evicting
unauthorized occupant if any."

Subsequently, on 8.12.2002, the same Lok Adalat reviewed the earlier order and passed a fresh order
which is marked as Annexure 8 to the writ petitions. For ready reference, order dated 8.12.2002, passed
in pre-litigative dispute No.8/2002, marked as Annexure 8 to the WP(C) No.90/2003, is reproduced
which reads, thus :

"Order dated 8.12.2002

The present dispute vide No.PLD.08/2002 is taken up Suo moto for review of the order dated, 18.8.2002
passed by this court in case No.PLD.08/ 2002.

It appears that the 1st party is in possession of the plot No.684 since, 23.9.1963. In fact this land was
purchased by Sri Surendra Ch. Sharma, the father of the 1st party from one Saukat Ali and since then the
petitioner is in continuous peaceful possession exercising his right, title, interest over the property
denying the right, title, interest of all concerned, as such, his continuous possession has perfected to
title over the land. Hence, the L.A. Collector, Dhalai or any concerned may only evict the petitioner
either by acquisition or in any other lawful mode by giving due statutory compensation prevailing in that
locality.

With the above observation the review petition is disposed of. Supply a copy of the order free of cost to
the parties."

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6. Learned senior counsel, Mr. Deb, has submitted that the impugned orders passed by Lok Adalat are
glaring instances of misuse of power prescribed by law. Learned counsel has submitted that the power
of the Lok Adalat is conciliatory and not adjudicatory. The impugned orders makes it clear that without
arriving at a compromise between the parties, the LokAdalat usurped its jurisdiction and passed orders
in an adjudicatory fashion which is not the prescription of law. The orders are ex facie illegal and
unconstitutional, beyond jurisdiction and, therefore, liable to be interfered in the writ petitions to set
the things at right. He also submitted that Annexure 5 series shows that LokAdalat issued notice asking
the L.A. Collector and respondent No.2 to appear before the Lok Adalat and on that day, the Land
Acquisition Collector appeared but not even a copy of the petition was supplied to the L.A. Collector and
the objection so raised by the L.A. Collector was not taken into consideration and the Lok Adalat
unilaterally passed the order beyond jurisdiction. It is further submitted by learned senior counsel, Mr.
Deb that subsequently, the LokAdalat again issued notice to appear before it, on 8.12.2002 and on that
day itself, ignoring the procedure prescribed by law, Lok Adalat by impugned order dated 8.12.2002
reviewed its earlier order passed on 18.8.2002, which is completely beyond jurisdiction of the Lok
Adalat. In support of his contention learned counsel relied on the following case laws -

(i) (2012) 4 SCC 307,

(ii) (2010) 9 SCC437,

(iii) (2009) 2 SCC 198 and

(iv) AIR 1951 SC 41.

7. Respondent No.1 in WP(C) Nos.90, 91, 92 and 93 of 2003 submitted counter-affidavit inter alia stating
that the dispute cropped up while the acquisition proceeding was initiated and therefore, the
respondents approached Lok Adalat and based on their applications, Lok Adalat taken cognizance and
passed the impugned orders in presence of the parties. Order passed by a LokAdalat is final according to
the provisions prescribed in the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 ('Act of 1987') and so, the writ
petitions filed, challenging the order passed by Lok Adalat, shall be dismissed.

8. Learned counsel, Mr. D.K. Biswas, appearing for the respondent No.1 in WP(C) No.91 of 2003, has
submitted that the L.A. Collector has no locus standi to challenge the order passed by Lok Adalat. The
function of the L.A. Collector is statutory and the dispute is between the concerned land holders and the
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requiring department, i.e., the Union of India. So, the L.A. Collector being statutory authority cannot say
that he is materially aggrieved by the order passed by Lok Adalat and hence the writ petitions are liable
to be dismissed.

9. Learned A.S.G., Mr. P.K. Biswas, has submitted that the orders passed by Lok Adalat are ex-facie
beyond jurisdiction and contrary to the provisions prescribed in the Act of 1987 and for fair ends of
justice as well as to uphold the administration of justice the orders are liable to be interfered. In support
of his contention learned A.S.G placed reliance on the following case laws -

(i) AIR 2008 SC 1209 and

(ii) (2011) 5 GLR 9.

10. Annexures 1 and 2 to the writ petitions shows that an acquisition proceeding of the land belonged to
different land holders at Mouja-Kamalacherra under Kulai Tahashil Kachari had been taken up at the
instance of Government of India for the purpose of construction of 22nd Assam Rifle Complex. Annexure
5 to the writ petition shows that the L.A. Collector, Ambassa, Dhalai was served with a notice to appear
before the Lok Adalat in connection with the particular case. The impugned orders passed by Lok Adalat
ex facie makes it abundantly clear that no conciliatory approach was extended by the Lok Adalat and the
orders were passed in an adjudicatory approach giving goodbye to the very concept of dispute
resolution mechanism as prescribed under the Act of 1987.

For fair appreciation, let us reproduce here the provisions of sections 19 and 20 of the Act of 1987 which
reads, thus :

"CHAPTER VI LOK ADALATS

19. Organization of Lok Adalats - (1) Every State Authority or District Authority or the Supreme Court
Legal Services Committee or every High Court Legal Services Committee or, as the case may be, Taluk
Legal Services Committee may organize Lok Adalats at such intervals and places and for exercising such
jurisdiction and for such areas as it thinks fit.

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(2) Every Lok Adalat organized for an area shall consist of such number of-

(a) serving or retired judicial officers; and (d) other persons, of the area as may be specified by the State
Authority or the District Authority or the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee or the High Court
Legal Services Committee, or as the case may be, the Taluk Legal Services Committee, organizing such
Lok Adalat.

(3) The experience and qualifications of other persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) for Lok
Adalats organized by the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee shall be such as may be prescribed by
the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

(4) The experience and qualifications of other persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) for Lok
Adalats other than referred to in subsection (3) shall be such as may be prescribed by the State
Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

(5) ALok 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 organized:

Provided that the Lok Adalat shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any case or matter relating to an
offence not compoundable under any law.

20. Cognizance of cases by Lok Adalats - (1) Where in any case referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (5)
of section 19 -

(i)(a) the parties thereof agree; or


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(b) one of the parties thereof makes an application to the court for referring the case to the Lok Adalat
for settlement and if such court is prima facie satisfied that there are chances of such settlement; or

(ii) the court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one to be taken cognizance of by the
LokAdalat, the court shall refer the case to the Lok Adalat: Provided that no case shall be referred to the
LokAdalat under sub-clause (b) of clause (i) or clause (ii) by such court except after giving a reasonable
opportunity of being heard to the parties.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Authority or
Committee organizing the Lok Adalat under sub-section (1) of section 19 may, on receipt of an
application from any one of the parties to any matter referred to in clause (ii) of subsection (5) of
section 19 that such matter needs to be determined by a Lok Adalat, refer such matter to the Lok
Adalat, for determination: Provided that no matter shall be referred to the LokAdalat except after giving
a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the other party.

(3) Where any case is referred to a LokAdalat under sub-section (1) or where a reference has been made
to it under sub-section (2), the Lok Adalat shall proceed to dispose of the case or matter and arrive at a
compromise or settlement between the parties.

(4) Every Lok Adalat shall, while determining any reference before it under this Act, act with utmost
expedition to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties and shall be guided by the
principles of justice, equity, fair play and other legal principles.

(5) Where no award is made by the Lok Adalat on the ground that no compromise or settlement could
be arrived at between the parties, the record of the case shall be returned by it to the court, from which
the reference has been received under sub-section (1) for disposal in accordance with law.

(6) Where no award is made by the Lok Adalat on the ground that no compromise or settlement could
be arrived at between the parties, in a matter referred to in sub-section (2), that Lok Adalat shall advice
the parties to seek remedy in a court.

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(7) Where the record of the case is returned under sub-section (5) to the court, such court shall proceed
to deal with such case from the stage which was reached before such reference under sub-section."

A bare reading of the above provisions makes it clear that the Lok Adalat constituted under sections 19
and 20 of the Act of 1987 cannot usurp jurisdiction to adjudicate any dispute like ordinary Court of Law
and cannot issue direction to any party thereto.

11. Lok Adalat is an effective, efficient and important form of our ancient Indianized dispute resolution
mechanism providing informal, inexpensive and expeditious justice to a common man. A large section of
people of our country do not have access to justice. Mostly the people who are poor and illiterate are
deprived of their basic rights enshrined in the constitution. It is because of poverty, ignorance and
backwardness. The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, has been enacted with a view to provide free
and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities of
securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and also with a
view to provide statutory backing to the institution of Lok Adalats, which has become very popular and
through which a large numbers of cases are quickly disposed of amicably. It is widely recognized that
advantage of Lok Adalat is multifarious. It is absolutely conciliatory in nature. The Judges/Conciliators of
the Lok Adalat shall assist the parties to arrive at a settlement of the disputes and in the event parties
arrive to such a settlement, the Lok Adalat shall put its hand and seal to such settlement which shall be
deemed to be a decree of the civil court.

12. The Supreme Court in the case of Kanwar Singh Saini v. High Court of Delhi, (2012) 4 SCC 307 in para
22 observed, thus :

"22. There can be no dispute regarding the settled legal proposition that conferment of jurisdiction is a
legislative function and it can neither be conferred with the consent of the parties nor by a superior
court, and if the court passes order/decree having no jurisdiction over the mater, it would amount to a
nullity as the matter goes to the roots of the cause. Such an issue can be raised at any belated stage of
the proceedings including in appeal or execution. The finding of a court or tribunal becomes irrelevant
and unenforceable/inexecutable once the forum is found to have no jurisdiction. Acquiescence of a
party equally should not be permitted to defeat the legislative animation. The court cannot derive
jurisdiction apart from the statute."

In the case at hand, the Lok Adalat based on a petition filed by the respdt No. 1 of the respective writ
petitions taken up the dispute serving notice on the other side and passed the order directing writ

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petitioners and the District Magistrate, etc., in an adjudicatory manner which isv beyond jurisdiction of
the LokAdalat. The order, therefore, since beyond jurisdiction cannot sustain in law. Curiously, the Lok
Adalat after passing the order dated 18.08.2002 (Annexure 6 to the writ petitions), again taken up the
respective pre-litigative disputes, on 8.12.2002 and reviewed its order dated 18.8.2002. Once Lok Adalat
entertains the dispute and the parties arrived at a settlement and the LokAdalat puts its seal to such
settlement, it has no authority to reopen it. Once it is settled between the parties, it is settled for ever.
Here, in the cases at hand, LokAdalat adopted a procedure which is not at all recognized by law.

The Supreme Court in the case of Kalabharati Advertising v. Hemant Vimalnath Narichania and Ors.,
(2010) 9 SCC 437 in paras 12, 13 and 14 observed thus :

"Review in absence of statutory provisions :

12. It is settled legal proposition that unless the statute/rules so permit, the review application is not
maintainable in case of judicial/quasi-judicial orders. In the absence of any provision in the Act granting
an express power of review, it is manifest that a review could not be made and the order in review, if
passed is ultra-vires, illegal and without jurisdiction. (vide: Patel Chunibhai Dajibha v. Narayanrao
Khanderao Jambekar and Anr. andHarbhajan Singh v. Karam Singh and Ors.).

13. In Patel Narshi Thakershi and Ors. v. Shri Pradyuman Singhji Arjunsinghji; Maj. Chandra Bhan Singh v.
Latafat Ullah Khan and Ors.; Dr. Smt. Kuntesh Gupta v. Management of Hindu Kanya Mahavidhyalaya,
Sitapur (U.P.) and Ors.; State of Orissa and Ors. v. Commissioner of Land Records and Settlement,
Cuttack and Ors. and Sunita Jain v. Pawan Kumar Jain and Ors., this court held that the power to review
is not an inherent power. It must be conferred by law either expressly/specifically or by necessary
implication and in the absence of any provision in the Act/Rules, review of an earlier order is
impermissible as review is a creation of statute. Jurisdiction of review can be derived only from the
statute and thus, any order of review in absence of any statutory provision for the same is nullity being
without jurisdiction.

14. Therefore, in view of the above, the law on the point can be summarised to the effect that in the
absence of any statutory provision providing for review, entertaining an application for review or under
the garb of clarification/modification/correction is not permissible."

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In the case of B.P. Moideen Seuamandir and Anr. v. A.M. Kutty Hasan, (2009) 2 SCC 198 the Apex Court
while explaining the purpose and scope of Lok Adalat in the facts and circumstances of the reported
case in paras 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 observed, thus :

"8. When a case is referred to the Lok Adalat for settlement, two courses are open to it: (a) if a
compromise or a settlement is arrived at between the parties, to make an award, incorporating such
compromise or settlement (which when signed by the parties and countersigned by the members of the
Lok Adalat, has the force of a decree); or (b) if there is no compromise or settlement, to return the
record with a failure report to the court. There can be no third hybrid order by the Lok Adalat containing
directions to the parties by way of final decision, with a further direction to the parties to settle the case
in tr -ms of such directions. In fact, there cannot be an award' when there is no settlement. Nor can
there be any 'directions' by the Lok Adalat determining the rights/ obligations/title of parties, when
there is no settlement. The settlement should precede the award and not vice versa.

9. When the Lok Adalat records the minutes of a proceeding referring to certain terms and directs the
parties to draw a compromise deed or a memorandum of settlement and file it before the court, it
means that there is no final or concluded settlement and the Lok Adalat is only making tentative
suggestions for settlement; and such a proceeding recorded by the Lok Adalat, even if it is termed as an
'award', is not an 'award of the Lok Adalat'.

10. Although the members of Lok Adalats have been doing a commendable job, sometime they tend to
act as Judges, forgetting that while functioning as members of Lok Adalats, they are only statutory
conciliators and have no judicial role. Any overbearing attitude on their part, or any attempt by them to
pressurize or coerce parties to settle matters before the Lok Adalat (by implying that if the litigant does
not agree for settlement before the Lok Adalat, his case will be prejudiced when heard in court), will
bring disrepute to Lok Adalats as an alternative dispute resolution process ('ADR process') and will also
tend to bring down the trust and confidence of the public in the Judiciary.

11. In this case the proceedings dated 25.5.2007 is termed as an 'award'.

It is also described as an 'order' and 'directs' the appellant to vacate certain buildings on or before
31.7.2007 and further directs that on such surrender, another portion shall belong to the appellants.
Such an 'award' could have been made by the Lok Adalat only when there was a final settlement
between the parties. The procedure adopted by the Lok Adalat on 25.5.2007, was clearly erroneous and
illegal. The learned Counsel for the respondent stated that the Lok Adalat followed the said procedure of

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passing.an 'Award' dated 25.5.2007 and directing parties to file a compromise in the court, only to
enable the appellants to get refund of court fee. We fail to understand how the question of refund of
court fee can have any bearing on the compliance with the statutory requirements relating to a
settlement and award by a Lok Adalat.

12. Such strange orders by Lok Adalats are the result of lack of appropriate rules or guidelines.
Thousands of Lok Adalats arc held all over the country every year. Many members of Lok Adalats are not
judicially trained. There is no fixed procedure for the Lok Adalats and each Adalat adopts its own
procedure. Different formats are used by different Lok Adalats when they settle the matters and make
awards. We have come across Lok Adalats passing 'orders', issuing 'directions' and even granting
declaratory relief, which are purely in the realm of courts or specified Tribunals, that too when there is
no settlement."

The Act of 1987 does not prescribe any provision of review or revision. The Lok Adalat, in the case at
hand, passed an order reviewing its earlier order in an adjudicatory manner and it is ex facie beyond
jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat and, therefore, liable to be interfered.

13. The jurisdiction, power and function of the Lok Adalats has been categorically explained by Apex
Court in the case of State of Punjab andAnr. v. Jalour Singh and Ors., (2008) 2 SCC 660). The observation
made by the Apex Court in that reported case has been followed in all subsequent cases, adjudicated by
the Apex Court and the High Courts. The observation of the Apex Court reads, thus :

"Lok Adalats have no adjudicatory or judicial functions. Their functions relate purely to conciliation. A
Lok Adalat determines a reference on the basis of a compromise or settlement between the parties at
its instance, and puts its seal of confirmation by making an award in terms of the compromise or
settlement. When the Lok Adalat is not able to arrive at a settlement or compromise, no award is made
and the case record is returned to the court from which the reference was received, for disposal in
accordance with law. No Lok Adalat has the power to 'hear' parties to adjudicate cases as a court does.
It discusses the subject-matter with the parties and persuades them to arrive at a just settlement. In
their conciliatory role, the Lok Adalats are guided by the principles of justice, equity and fair play. When
the LSA Act refers to 'determination' by the Lok Adalat and 'award' by the Lok Adalat, the said Act does
not contemplate nor require an adjudicatory judicial determination, but a non-adjudicatory
determination based on a compromise or settlement, arrived at by the parties, with guidance and
assistance from the Lok Adalat. The 'award' of the Lok Adalat does not mean any independent verdict or
opinion arrived at by any decision-making process. The making of the award is merely an administrative

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act of incorporating the terms of settlement or compromise agree by parties in the presence of the Lok
Adalat, in the- form of an executable order under the signature and seal of the Lok Adalat.

Many sitting or retired judges, while participating in the Lok Adalats as members, tend to conduct the
Lok Adalats like courts, by hearing parties, and imposing their views as to what is just and equitable, on
the parties. Sometimes they get carried away and proceed to pass orders on merits, as in this case, even
though there is no consensus or settlement. Such acts, instead of fostering alternative dispute
resolution through the Lok Adalats, will drive the litigants away from the Lok Adalats. The Lok Adalats
should resist their temptation to play the part of judges and constantly strive to function as conciliators.
The endeavour and effort of the Lok Adalats should be to guide and persuade the parties, with reference
to principles of justice, equity and fair play to compromise and settle the dispute by explaining the pros
and cons, strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages of their respective claim.

The order of the Lok Adalat in this case (extracted in para 3), shows that it assumed a judicial role, heard
parties, ignored the absence of consensus, and increased the compensation to an extent it considered
just and reasonable, by a reasoned order which is adjudicatory in nature. It arrogated to itself the
appellate powers of the High Court and 'allowed' the appeal and 'directed' the respondents in the
appeal to pay the enhanced compensation of Rs.62,200 within two months. The order of the Lok Adalat
was not passed by consent of parties or in pursuance of any compromise or settlement between the
parties. Such an order is not an award of the Lok Adalat. Being contrary to law and beyond the power
and jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat, it is void in the eye of the law."

Unfortunately, the concerned Lok Adalat which passed the impugned orders, challenged in the writ
petitions, has not followed the very concept of the Act of 1987 and usurped jurisdiction beyond power
vested in the Lok Adalats. The orders passed the Lok Adalat, since not consistent with the provisions of
the law, are liable to be interfered in the writ petition.

14. The contention of learned counsel, Mr. D.K. Biswas that the L.A. Collector has no locus standi to
challenge the orders passed by Lok Adalat, does not sound good in view of the fact that the acquisition
proceeding taken up by the L.A. Collector was interfered in view of the order passed by the Lok Adalat
and further, refuting the argument advanced by learned counsel, Mr. Biswas, learned senior counsel,
Mr. Deb presented a copy of Notification dated 19th March 1983 issued by Joint Secretary-to the
Government of India [SO 187(E)] which shows that the President of India in exercises of the powers
conferred under article 258 of the Constitution of India with the consent of the Government of Tripura,
entrusted the functions of the Central Government to the Government of Tripura in respect of the Land
Acquisition Act 1984 to Act on behalf of the Central Government. In view of that Notification learned

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L.A. Collector while exercising jurisdiction under the L.A. Act definitely has the locus standi to challenge
the impugned orders, passed by Lok Adalat, before this court filing writ petitions.

Learned senior counsel, Mr. Deb in support of his contention, further referred section 575 of American
Jurisprudence which reads thus :

"575. Standing to sue. One of the doctrines or standards which operates as a limitation upon the
availability of judicial review or judicial relief against administrative action is 'standing to sue'. Only a
person with a 'legal standing' can resort to the courts for relief from action of an administrative agency,
whether the party resorting to the court avails himself of a statutory or non-statutory remedy. Involved
in 'standing to sue' are the concepts of justiciability' and injury or prejudice, standing to sue also
involves, or at least in some respects is indistinguishable from, the requirement of finality in the action
of the administrative agency. The question of a person's legal standing to apply for judicial relief does
not touch the merits of a suit, but merely the authority of the court resorted to to entertain the action.

A statute providing for judicial review of action of an administrative agency may identify by its specific
terms the persons who are entitled to apply for such review, as where it provides that any party may
appeal, or it may provide that a 'party in interest', or any person or party 'aggrieved' or 'adversely
affected' by such action, or either, is entitled to appeal or file suit, or it may be completely silent as to
what persons are entitled to resort to the courts."

In the cases at hand, the Lok Adalat interfered in the process of a land acquisition proceeding lawfully
initiated by the writ petitioner and stalled the acquisition process. Therefore, the Land Acquisition
Collector has the right to challenge the action taken by Lok Adalat. Further, in view of GOI Notification
L.A. Collector is not only a statutory authority but also a representative of the GOI in respect of land
acquisition matters. Therefore, the submission of learned counsel, Mr. Biswas does not deserve
consideration.

15. In view of the discussions made above, all the writ petitions are allowed. Proceedings initiated by the
Lok Adalat, vide Pre-litigative dispute Nos.08/2002, 07/2002, 09/2002, 10/2002 and 16/2002 and the
impugned orders passed by such Lok Adalat, dated 18.8.2002 (Annexure 6 to the writ petitions) and
order dated 8.12.2002 (Annexure 8 to the writ petitions), are set aside and quashed.

16. The writ petitions, accordingly stands disposed of.


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17. A copy of the judgment and order be sent to Member Secretary, Tripura State Legal Services
Authority.

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