Lok adalats can be moved by home-buyers for project delays

From ET Realty

NEW DELHI: If a housing project delays possession but fails to pay interest or an educational institution refuses admission on frivolous ground, people can now approach a lok adalat for faster redressal than going to a regular court where cases take years to conclude.

Based on feedback received by legal services authorities across the country, the government has added “education or educational institutions” and “housing and real estate services” under the definition of ‘public utility services’ which can be covered by lok adalats.

A Union law ministry notification, which was issued on February 16, said the two new categories have been included in Section 22 A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 “in public interest”.

Till recently, ‘public utility service’ under the Act included transport services, postal, telegraph or telephone service, power and water supply service, sanitation, service provided by hospital or dispensary and insurance service.

People could approach lok adalats with grievances related to these utilities.

“This will reduce pendency in regular courts. Issues like eligibility for admission, exorbitant tuition fee, refusal or delay to grant degree, refusal by builder to pay interest for delay in handing over a house can be covered by lok adalats where grievance redressal is faster than regular courts,” explained a senior official of the law ministry.

The Legal Services Authority Act was enacted to constitute legal services authorities to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of the society and to organise lok adalats to ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity.

Lok adalats are organised at district state and national level to settle disputes. There are permanent lok adalats to settle cases related to traffic challans and power bills.

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