Before allowing a compromise decree filed before it, the Karnataka High Court issued guidelines for courts and Lok Adalat to follow in determining the parties’ genuineness.
In the case of Renuka W/O Anand @ Anantsa Bakale v Ramanand S/O Ramkrishnasa Basawa And Others (Writ Petition No. 103766 Of 2018), a single judge bench led by Honourable Justice Suraj Govindaraj issued the directions in a petition filed by a party alleging that its interest in the suit property was compromised by a compromise entered into without its knowledge by a person claiming to be its power of attorney
Facts of the case:
This petition is filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Indian Constitution, requesting that the principal senior civil judge at Hubballi (Lok Adalat) quash the compromise decree dated 26.7.2014 and the compromise petition dated 26.7.2014, and that O.S.No. 246 of 2014 be restored to the principal senior judge’s file for a fresh consideration of the merits.
The Court stated that it has encountered several cases involving such compromises before the Lok Adalat that have been challenged through writ petitions. “As a result, I believe it is appropriate for me to issue general directions in respect of such matters as are referred to Lok-Adalat and compromise recorded.”
The directions are as follows :
- In accordance with the decision in Smt. Akkubai vs. Shri Venkatrao and Others [ILR 2014 KAR 2051] (supra), it is the Court’s responsibility to record the compromise rather than referring the case to the Lok- Adalat.
- If no settlement is reached before the Court and the parties request that the matter be referred to the Lok-Adalat in order to facilitate a settlement, the parties will be referred to the Lok-Adalat, and if a compromise is reached before the Lok-Adalat, the same will be recorded by the Lok-Adalat.
- If the matter is referred to Lok-Adalat, the Lok-Adalat must open and maintain separate order sheets, and the Court’s order sheet in the suit cannot be used by the Lok-Adalat.
- When recording a compromise, the trial court or Lok-Adalat must determine whether the parties are present personally, as well as ascertain and verify their identities through the production of appropriate documentary proof.
- If a power of attorney is presented, it is the Court’s or Lok-duty Adalat’s to determine whether the concerned party has been served with notice.
- The Court, as well as the Lok-Adalat, would have to be suspicious if the party appeared before the notice was served, as this is a red flag that something is wrong with the case.
- When a power of attorney enters into a compromise, the original power of attorney must be examined by the Court and the Lok-Adalat, and the necessary endorsement made in the order to that effect, and the original power of attorney must be returned to the parties.
- In lieu of a power of attorney, the trial court and/or the Lok-Adalat should attempt to secure the presence of the party and obtain the signature of such party.
- As a general rule, the Trial Courts must obtain proper and acceptable proof of identity of the parties to proceedings as required by the Government for various purposes (such as an Aadhar Card, a Driver’s License, a Passport Copy, an Election Identity Card, and so on).
Judgement Reviewed By Manju Molakalapalli.