HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Saturday found fault with judicial officers for setting aside awards passed by the Lok Adalats. It observed that when the Supreme Court had reiterated several times that the awards of Lok Adalats could be challenged only by filing a writ petition under Article 226 or Article 227 of the Constitution in the High Court and that too on very limited grounds, it was binding to all courts in the country.
Justice A. Venkateshwara Reddy, while dealing with a petition which complained that the settled law had been violated by a junior civil judge in the Warangal court, observed that the said judicial officer had committed grave jurisdictional error by setting aside the award passed by Lok Adalat in 2006, for which he was not authorised.
The Lok Adalat led by the secretary of District Legal Services Authority in Warangal had passed an award in 2006 in a suit for scheduled property by compromising both the parties. However, one of the litigants filed a petition before the Warangal court challenging that award and requested it be set aside. In 2015, while setting aside the award, the principal junior civil judge made observations in the orders stating, “The evidence clearly shows that for the purpose of obtaining the decree of compromise, one of the parties (litigant) kept the life of the husband of the other party under threat and compelled her to sign on terms of compromise. So, the terms of compromise itself are vitiated by coercion. Consequently, the award passed by the Lok Adalat based on these terms of compromise is illegal.”
The order and the way the junior civil judge interfered with the AWARD was faulted by the High Court, when it was challenged before it.
Justice Venkateshwara Reddy maintained that the principal junior civil judge usurped the jurisdiction which was not vested in him and the order under revision was beyond the jurisdiction of principal junior civil judge.