Nirnimesh Kumar

A hundred paperless Lok Adalats lined up to settle 1.1 lakh default cases online

NEW DELHI: Thousands of credit card defaulters of ICICI Bank will get a rare opportunity this Sunday to settle their long-pending check bouncing cases and recovery suits at a series of paperless “Lok Adalats” being held at five district courts here in the Capital.

Defaulters eager to settle their cases with the bank need not carry their case files; they can even opt for a district court of their choice; and they will not be required to appear before the regular court where the cases are at present pending for the final proceedings.

All this has been made possible by a unique initiative taken by the Delhi Legal Services Authority in technical collaboration with the bank. What is unusual about these Lok Adalats is that there will be no use of papers at all to settle the cases; all the proceedings will be conducted online.

There are a whopping 1.1 lakh cases pending in different lower courts across the Capital which are likely to be taken up for disposal to the satisfaction of the bank and the accused. The bank has been advertising the joint initiative on FM radios, in newspapers and through roadside hoardings and buntings for the past one week. More than 40,000 customers of the bank have already contacted the bank’s call centre regarding their cases.

According to the Project Officer of the Legal Services Authority, Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Sharma, 15 Lok Adalats will function at the Patiala House courts, 25 at the Karkardooma courts and 20 each at the Tis Hazari, Dwarka and Rohini district courts. So, in all, a hundred courts would be hearing these cases on a single day.

Each district court will have ten computerised counters to provide relevant data to the Lok Adalats on request by the accused.

The defaulters will only need to tell their credit card or case number to the men at the counters and they will retrieve their details and forward them online to the Lok Adalats.

There will be a separate counter on each district court campus for senior citizens, women and physically-challenged persons.

Each Lok Adalat will have a presiding officer, an associate member who will be a senior member of the bar and a senior officer of the bank. The bank officer will be carrying a laptop fed with all the details of the 1.1 lakh cases.

The bank has already fed all the relevant data of these case into the computers installed at the district courts. The bank has also provided computers and printers to the Authority besides the technical support.

The defaulters can appear before any of the Lok Adalats to settle their cases, depending upon the proximity of their residence to the district court or their convenience. There will also be no movement of case files, and the defaulters will also have to travel less thanks to the online proceedings.

On settlement of their disputes, the accused will not have to visit the courts concerned as orders of the Lok Adalats will be forwarded online to these courts, Mr. Sharma told The Hindu on Saturday.

Justice Arijit Pasayat of the Supreme Court will inaugurate the Lok Adalats at the Patiala House courts premises in the presence of Delhi High Court Chief Justice A. P. Shah.

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