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Writ petitions may be filed to dispute general directives made by the Lok Adalat in situations of compromise: Karnataka high court

Writ petitions may be filed to dispute general directives made by the Lok Adalat in situations of compromise, is upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned Judge JUSTICE SURAJ GOVINDARAJ in the case of Renuka v. Ramanand (W.P No. 103766 of 2018).

 

Brief facts of the case:

A compromise petition was filed before the Principal Senior Civil Judge at Hubballi in the Lok-Adalat proceedings by a person claiming to be the petitioner’s power of attorney holder. As a result, the petitioner’s interest in the suit schedule property was compromised without the petitioner’s knowledge. As such, a fraud was committed on the petitioner by abusing the process of the Court and filing a compromise petition in the Lok-Adalat proceedings. Thus, a petition was filed according to Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, requesting the annulment of the compromise decision and the reinstatement of the original complaint before the Principal Senior Civil Judge in Huballi for consideration of the merits.

the petitioner contented that the petitioner not having performed any power of attorney in favour of respondent 1, the power of attorney claimed by respondent 1 is fabricated one and as such neither the agreement of sale might be performed by respondent 1 in favour of respondent 2 nor could a compromise be entered into by the respondent 1 with respondent 2 for the Lok-Adalat to record. Therefore, the petition has to be permitted and the compromise recorded by the Lok-Adalat be set aside. The respondent in return, argued that respondent 1 is the petitioner’s attorney-in-fact and that respondent 1 has entered into a compromise with respondent 2 with the petitioner’s knowledge and approval. The compromise having been submitted before the Court and the Court having referred the issue to the Lok- Adalat, the compromise is one that has been filed before the Court. Since the trial Court has accepted the compromise into record, only a lawsuit opposing the compromise may be filed.

JUDGMNET:

After reviewing all of the pertinent evidence, the court determined that a plaintiff in a lawsuit cannot appoint a defendant to be represented by power of attorney without also providing the address of the defendant. It was also noted that, as a consequence of the entire hearing and method followed, a compromise decree was issued against the petitioner who, while being named as a party in the previous, was neither provided with notice nor did the defendant oppose the proceedings. As the compromise petition was filed with the court and then forwarded to Lok-Adalat for recording, there is a procedural error. The court cited Akkubai v. Venkatrao and criticised the practise of recording a compromise before the court and then referring to Lok-Adalat, as it is not authorised by the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, and such a compromise, if recorded before Lok Adalat, must be set aside.

In writ petitions challenging topics concerning compromise before the Lok Adalat, the Court also issued broad directives.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – HARILAKSHMI

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