Lok Adalat reuniting estranged couples

Cuttack: Their relationship had soured immediately after marriage. After bitter quarrels and animosity, the couple then entered into a prolonged legal battle for separation.

However, Ratikanta Samal of Cuttack Sadar and Chandana Samal of Choudwar have now been reunited along with their three-year-old son, thanks to a state-level Lok Adalat held here in the district judge court premises.

It was not Samals alone, but at least 12 other estranged couples were reunited in the Lok Adalat, which was conducted over last week-end under the supervision of district and sessions judge Shatrughna Pujahari.

"Most of the divorce cases pending before the family court here for mediation have arisen due to dowry demands leading to domestic violence," advocate Gadadhar Sahoo, who was appearing on behalf of his NGO for at least three estranged couples, said.

A total of 70 cases of divorce were listed for decision before the Lok Adalat on Saturday. But due to inclement weather, many of the contesting parties could not turn up on the day, an official of the district legal services authority said.

Similarly, at least 350 motor vehicle (MV) accident claim cases were listed for settlement in the Lok Adalat on the day. But only 273 cases were settled by at least three district-level judges, who awarded a combined compensation of Rs 4.17 crore to the claimants.