The Supreme Court held that the award of Lok Adalat can be challenged only by filing writ petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India.
Upholding the order of rejection of plaint, Supreme Court found that civil suit seeking such remedy was not maintainable.
The Trial Court had allowed the application filed by the defendants and rejected the plaint by invoking powers under clause (d) of Rule 11. It was held that the filing of the civil suit to challenge the award of Lok Adalat is impliedly barred and the remedy of the plaintiffs is to challenge the award by filing writ petition under Article 226 or/and 227 of the Constitution in the High Court as held by this Court in the case of State of Punjab (supra).
Mr. Adinarayana Rao, senior counsel for the Respondents had contended that the expression "law" occurring in clause(d) of Rule 11 Order 7 does not include the "judicial decisions" which was not accepted by the Court.
“Law includes not only legislative enactments but also judicial precedents. An authoritative judgment of the Courts including higher judiciary is also law.”
It was held that the plaint was liable to be rejected, the suit being barred by law.
“In our view, the decision rendered in the case of State of Punjab (supra) is by the larger Bench (Three Judge) and is, therefore, binding on us. No efforts were made and rightly to contend that the said decision needs reconsideration on the issue in question. That apart, when this Court has laid down a particular remedy to follow for challenging the award of Lok Adalat then in our view, the same is required to be followed by the litigant in letter and spirit as provided therein for adjudication of his grievance in the first instance. The reason being that it is a law of the land under Article 141 of the Constitution of India (see – M. Nagaraj & Ors. Vs. U.O.I. & Ors. 2006 ( 8 ) SCC 212). It is then for the writ court to decide as to what orders need to be passed on the facts arising in the case”, the court said
However the court made it clear that the plaintiffs would be at liberty to challenge the legality and correctness of the award passed by the Lok Adalat by filing the writ petition under Article 226 or/and 227 of the Constitution.