The concept of e-Lok Adalat has the potential to transform the legal landscape of India by providing a platform to millions of people to settle their grievances at their places, said N.V. Ramana, a judge of the Supreme Court of India and the Executive Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority, on Saturday.

After e-inaugurating Karnataka’s first State-level mega e-Lok Adalat conducted by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, he said the “techniques and methods which we [the judiciary] have adopted during this time to get over this pandemic will prove to be solution for long-standing problems”.

“We [the judiciary] always thought of making use of technological services like video conferences, e-courts, etc. to enable marginalised people to access justice. Now, finally it has been put into action,” Mr. Ramana said.

He, however, said the crucial challenge was to popularise e-Lok Adalats at the grassroots levels, where people have no facility of videoconferencing, by providing access to technology, while appreciating e-Lok Adalat being held in all the 30 judicial districts of the State by forming 940 Benches for settlement process.

“It is important to ensure that e-Lok Adalat remains as people’s Lok Adalat and retains its simplicity and wider reach,” he said while underlining the importance of e-Lok Adalats for Karnataka, which is one of the States in southern India having the highest number of around 17.5 lakh cases pending in district- and taluk-level courts.

Mr. Ramana appreciated the works done by executive chairperson of the KSLSA Aravind Kumar and his team of judicial officers during the lockdown period to ensure release of over 11,000 undertrial prisoners and 489 convicted prisoners on parole while hailing the Chief Justice for initiating measures to address the issues of migrant workers and others.

Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, said as many as 1.87 lakh pending and pre-litigation cases were identified for settlement through the mega e-Lok Adalat.

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