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Himachal Pradesh High Court upholds National Lok Adalat award on withdrawal of cross objections against state govt

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court has dismissed the plea of a petitioner, who challenged an award passed by the National Lok Adalat, stating that the Counsel appearing for him, withdrew the cross objections filed by him, without his knowledge.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel, on perusal of the record on September 7, observed that Surinder Verma, Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, made a statement before the Lok Adalat that as the state was intending to withdraw the appeal filed by it, the petitioner be also permitted to withdraw the cross objections filed by him. It was on the basis of this statement made before the Lok Adalat that the award was passed by it. 

The Court further noted that thereafter on the strength of the award, the petitioner filed a miscellaneous application for release of the amount. Incidentally in this application, no averments were made by the petitioner that the cross objections, which stood filed by him, were wrongly withdrawn on the basis of a statement of the Counsel, who was not authorised by him to give such statement and the application was being filed by him by reserving his right to assail the award passed by the National Lok Adalat, on the ground on which the petition has been filed, the Bench observed.

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“This demonstrates that filing of the present petition is nothing but an after thought and in this view of the matter, the Court does not intend to agree with the contention of the petitioner that the award so passed was without his acquiescence. Accordingly, this petition is dismissed,”

-the order read.

The petition was filed by one Lachmi Chand alias Chandu for setting aside the award passed by the National Lok Adalat on December 9, 2017, on the ground that the award so passed by the National Lok Adalat, was not sustainable in the eyes of law as the petitioner had never had acquiescence to any settlement of the issue by way of conciliation, nor the Counsel who made a statement before the National Lok Adalat compromising the matter on behalf of the petitioner was authorised to do so.

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