A mega Lok Adalat, exclusively for the cases of State Bank of India (SBI), was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, H.L.Gokhale, on Wednesday.
Nearly 1,600 cases, which were all pre-litigation matters, involving a total claim of Rs.20 crore, were referred to the Lok Adalat, jointly organised by the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority (TNSLSA) and the bank. Six Benches were constituted to deal with the cases. Mr. Justice Gokhale said nationalised banks were coming forward to hold Lok Adalats and this was a good trend. In the last adalat exclusively for Central Bank of India cases, nearly Rs.12 crore was awarded. The adalats served as a golden opportunity for disposing of cases. The banks and their customers should make use of the opportunity which was an alternative to filing of cases before courts. The Chief Justice said Lok Adalats are to be held for cases relating to dishonouring of cheques. Concentration would be on prison Lok Adalats also.
Justice Elipe Dharma Rao, Judge, High Court and Executive Chairman of the TNSLSA, who presided, said by holding mega Lok Adalats for bank cases, not only the bankers but also their customers were benefitted, instead of ending up as civil suits in courts. From January 1 to December 31 last year, 5,464 Lok Adalats were held. Nearly 50,000 cases were settled and Rs.191 crore had been awarded as compensation. Of these, 7,497 were bank cases. J.Chandrasekaran, Chief General Manager, SBI, LHO, Chennai and T.Mathivanan, Member-Secretary, TNSLSA, were among those who spoke.