The Lok Adalat is not a regular court authorised to adjudicate the disputes between the parties on merits. It is needless to state that Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction or authority vested in it to decide any lis, as such, between the parties even where the attempt to arrive at an agreed settlement between the parties has failed, LIC v. Suresh Kumar, (2011) 7 SCC 491: (2011) 3 SCC (Civ) 776. See. Ss. 19 and 22-B of Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Arbitration:- A private dispute resolution mechanism agreed upon by the parties, P. Manohar Reddy & Bros. v. Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corpn., (2009) 2 SCC 494. Arbitration is a binding voluntary alternative dispute resolution process by a private forum chosen by the parties, Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. v. Raja Transport (P) Ltd., (2009) 8 SCC 520. The determination of a matter in dispute by the judgment of one, two or more persons, called arbitrators, who in case of difference usually call in an ‘umpire’ to decide between them. Generally speaking, almost all matters in dispute, not being of a criminal nature, may be referred to arbitration; but at Common Law there was no mode of making the award binding. Arbitration means any arbitration whether or not administered by permanent arbitral institution, according to Section 2(1)(a), Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
Arbitration Agreement:- It means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not, [Section 7, Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. A written agreement to submit present or future differences to arbitration, whether an arbitrator is named therein or not, Section 2(a), Arbitration Act, 1940 (India)] [Repealed by Act 26 of 1996.
Conciliation:- The settling of disputes without litigation.
Mediation is also a well-known term and it refers to a method of non-binding dispute resolution with the assistance of a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties to arrive at a negotiated settlement. It is also a synonym of the term “conciliation”, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. v. Cherian Varkey Construction Co. (P) Ltd., (2010) 8 SCC 24: (2010) 3 SCC (Civ) 235.
Award:- An award is accordingly, in the first place, the taking a matter into consideration and pronouncing judgment upon it; but in later times the designation has been transferred exclusively to the consequent judgment.], a document containing the determination of commissioner, also an instrument embodying an arbitrator’s decision on a matter submitted to him. It must follow the submission, but need not be necessarily in writing, unless prescribed. An award is generally considered as published as soon as the arbitrator has done some act whereby he becomes functus officio and has declared and can no longer change, his final mind. As soon as the award is executed, notice thereof should be given to all the parties that it is made and ready to be delivered: and if the submission direct that it be delivered to the parties by a certain day, in order to be valid it must be so delivered accordingly. It is usual for an arbitrator to keep the award until his costs are paid. A valid award is ordinarily final and conclusive on all matters referred by the submission. Award includes part of the award, K.K. John v. State of Goa, (2003) 8 SCC 193.
The expression “award” has a distinct connotation. It envisages a binding decision of a judicial or a quasi-judicial authority. It may be an arbitral award. An award of a quasi-judicial or judicial authority may provide for a binding decision on the company. Meaning of the term “award” cannot be restricted to a contractual obligation inasmuch as by its very nature a third-party intervention, for resolution of disputes between the parties where company is a party, is envisaged. An award is to be treated to be a decree even without intervention of the court only for limited purpose of its enforceability, Morgan Securities & Credit (P) Ltd. v. Modi Rubber Ltd., (2006) 12 SCC 642. “Award” is used in the sense of “give” or “giving” and not in any technical sense, as something distinct in character from judgment and/or decree, K.S. Pariapoornan v. State of Kerala, (1992) 1 SCC 684. Award means an award passed by the Insurance Ombudsman under Rule 17 of the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, [Rule 4(a), Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017