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How to choose correct forum and right lawyer

Are consumer courts your only option? Or do some issues have faster, alternative solution? Three experts, Adv Bapoo Malcolm, Indrani Malkani and Shirish Shanbhag say yes

Finding a solution or redress of your grievances requires you to make smart choices and act strategically. Most people are unaware of the alternative dispute resolution forums like Lok Adalat and Lokshahi Din to resolve their issues. Also if one decides to go for legal recourse, one must chose right lawyer or end up in deep trouble. These were the words of advice provided by three experts, Adv Bapoo Malcolm, Indrani Malkani and Shirish Shanbhag, at a panel discussion organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai.

 

There are several other fora like tax, insurance and banking  ombudsman, alternative dispute resolution fora like Lok Adalat, Lokshahi Din held in government offices, counselling offered by Council for Fair Business Practices and Disha Financial Counselling and consumer courts that help people to resolve grievances quickly.

 

Lokshahi Din

According to Shirish Shanbhag, a retired professor, who provides guidance to people on several issues, grievance of citizens is best resolved in Lokshahi Din. There are four levels of Lokshahi Din and one can escalate her grievance from taluka level to the chief minister level as well.

 

If one follows the simple procedure, like submitting the application in prescribed format, well before the prescribed time limit, she can get quick and effective redressal. Raising public grievances through Lokshahi Din is less time consuming, and is an inexpensive solution. In addition, there is no need to hire a lawyer and one can represent herself, Mr Shanbhag said.

 

Lok Adalats

Social activist Indrani Malkani who is also a trustee of vCitizens Action Network (V-CAN), said Lok Adalat works on a system of reaching a compromise between the disputed parties. Lok Adalat is a non-adversarial system, whereby mock courts (called Lok Adalats) are held by the State Authority, District Authority, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee, or Taluk Legal Services Committee.

 

The Lok Adalats can deal with all civil cases, matrimonial disputes, land disputes, partition/ property disputes, labour disputes, and compoundable criminal cases, Ms Malkani said.

 

She said, in Lok Adalat, disputing parties plead their case themselves. No advocate or pleader is allowed, even witnesses are not examined. No court fee is levied. Speedy justice is given to the people of all classes of society and the award has the same effect as of a Civil Court decree.

 

According to Ms Malkani, disputes can be brought before the Lok Adalat directly instead of going to a regular court, which provides speedy justice.

 

How to choose the right lawyer?

Advocate Bapoo Malcolm, who practises civil and criminal law as well as documentation and arbitration, said before looking for a lawyer, one must think about the outcome she wants and what branch of law applies to her specific problem. Since legal cases may drag on for years, one must also consider if the battle is worth the time and cost, he said. According to Adv Malcolm, it is always better to hire a lawyer who is highly recommended from people in one's inner circle who have dealt with legal issues. While credentials are important, knowledge of the lawyer about penal provisions is equally important, he said.

 

He said, well-established and reputed lawyers charge higher fees than the upcoming ones. At the same time, well-established lawyers don’t always charge fees for consultation or first visit, Adv Malcolm added.

 

One must have a frank and open discussion with the lawyer and should not hide facts. She must also ask for a realistic estimate of cost and duration to resolve the particular issue. "If you do not understand what your lawyer is saying, seek an explanation. Don't get intimidated," he said.

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COMMENTS

Suiketu Shah

3 years ago

I would like to ask the lawyers one question.Almost every housing society in Mumbai charges 1% for sale of flats to give NOC.This is illegal as per cooperative hsg society rules as max is Rs 25,000/-.However all one can do is complaint to registrar and there are no byelaws for strict punishment.What does one do then?Not sell the flat?

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

Getting speedier justice in India will be dream come true if it works.Usually lawyers don't give real picture to their clients as very rarely both trust each other.One cannot put full blame on lawyers as our system is embroiled in blame game and following procedures even though they are outdated and not in public interest.In a civil matter before District court in rent case,the public ltd.companies lawyer(respondent) said company did not get notice on their registered address,the judge shot back your presence itself is enough that you are aware of facts and we should not go in legalities just to delay the matter and the appeal was decided in a months time.It is duty of Bar and Bench to see that Justice is done in due time frame and not stretch too long so that public looses faith in system.In fact public has already lost faith in Justice system.

NSriramamurty

3 years ago

My PPF A/c in SBI was Opened on 28-5-1982 and 20 Years ,after extension of 5 Years, Matured on 27-5-2002. Bank's Manual Records are not Traceable in Bank. After Computerisation , the Digital Number is not Known to them nor communicated to me.It is not Known in SBI's Branch,Regional Managers Office or States Head office in Hyderabad .They Say that Digitalised Data upto Year 2005 is Preserved in SBI,Mumbai Head Office by TCS.
They Refuse to Pay Me without Verifying their Records.
RBI,OMBUDSMAN also may not help, as he only try to Compromise Both Parties and if there is no agreement, he will not issue any Order in Favour of Consumer. Kindly Help me on How to get my PPF Money.

Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo

3 years ago

What is the way out if a lawyer is virtually not doing work after filing a suit. It is more than a year, even the summon is not yet issued. Except the case number and the name of the court we know nothing. We have never been informed of any date of hearing in Court at any time. Now with the help of another advocate we know that the next date is on 4th April, 2014. He is not willing to give NOC for changing the lawyer. In Pune, is there any lawyers' body where we can lodge a complaint. If we do that , what are the possible ways by which he can still harass us. If I canget the contact name and number of the person who can help us, we can call him or if necessary visit Mumbai for help.

REPLY

Vishrut Patel

In Reply to Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo 3 years ago

Dear Mr Vaidya,

Thanks for posting your comment.

As you may be aware Moneylife Foundation has launched a Legal Resource Centre ( http://lrc.moneylife.in/ ) to provide advice and help in such matters.

We request you to send your query through the LRC by clicking in this link http://moneylife.in/lrc.html

Best Regards,
Vishrut Patel

NSriramamurty

In Reply to Vishrut Patel 3 years ago

Thanks for giving Precious Informatio .

NSriramamurty

In Reply to Vaidya Dattatraya Vasudeo 3 years ago

Courts Record , Eventhough Computerised , do not have System of Intimating Advocate / Concerned Party either by Mail or SMS , as done in Banks . Consequently We have to Repeatedly asking our Lawyer or some known person having Access to Court's Records / Digitalised Data.Even Advocates have to see the List put in Courts ,for their Cases Dates.
Miserably Bad System, The Communication System of Court's has to be Radically Modified.

hilton

In Reply to NSriramamurty 1 year ago

nice info!Family law requires compassion, professional guidance and legal leadership that are accomplished effortlessly with the help of our caring attorney . for money services there are some information on it you can check from http://www.harrisfamilylawgroup.com/

hilton

In Reply to NSriramamurty 1 year ago

I read your article . nice info!
Family law requires compassion, professional guidance and legal leadership that are accomplished effortlessly with the help of our caring attorney. here are some sources for choosing a good lawyer http://www.harrisfamilylawgroup.com/

Mediclaim: Insurers asked to issue guidelines to TPAs on claims

Bombay HC had asked IRDA to have insurers issue guidelines to TPA on claims recommendation within four weeks. They should also see if the insurers can declare pre-packaged rates for 42 ailments in the same guidelines. Are TPAs still settling claims?

The Bombay High Court (HC) had asked Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to make the insurers comply with its August 2013 circular asking insurance companies to issue guidelines to third party administrators (TPA) on claims recommendation within four weeks. Even though General Insurance Council (GIC), a statutory body representing all non-life insurers, has expressed inability to comply with the HC order of declared pre-packaged rates for 42 ailments, HC has asked IRDA to see if insurers can conform to it.
 

On the 28 November 2013 hearing, Bombay HC judge questioned IRDA about not including it in health insurance regulations to mandate transparency for 42 standard ailments pricing. IRDA replied that insurance companies cannot comply and hence, GIC has intervened to be made party to the public interest litigation (PIL). In short, IRDA put the ball in health insurer’s court instead of mandating transparency from insurance companies.
 

Read - Bombay HC notice to health insurers on pre-packaged rates
 

In the following hearings, GIC agreed that there should be uniformity in packages offered in insurance policies. GIC kept expressing inability to comply with the HC order citing lack of hospital regulator in India as one of the reasons. Mr Damani had argued that there was a provision in the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act to appoint a regulator to regulate the hospitals. Unfortunately, IRDA has not appointed such an authority.
 

Read:  Mediclaim: GIC to file affidavit to express inability to comply with HC order
 

Finally, in today’s (21 March 2014) hearing, GIC said that they will need IRDA to mandate pre-packaged rates in the health insurance guidelines. It means the ball is back in IRDA’s court. It is now up to IRDA to mandate pre-packaged declared rates rather than putting blame on insurer unwillingness. The buck certainly stops at IRDA.
 

According to Mr Damani, “If mediclaim policies indicated the amount an insured was eligible for specific ailments, it will ensure that they have clarity on which hospitals to go; the hospitals too would know how much they would get.” Packaged rate for standard procedures specified in the policy will force the insurance companies and TPAs to become more transparent about what they are willing to pay, avoiding nasty surprises for the policyholder later.
 

Today, the average claim payment for cashless is Rs25,000, but it is only Rs13,000 for reimbursement. It means there is a large chunk of claims that are only partially settled; it is not in consumer interest. There are cases of TPA still writing cheques, which is not in compliance with health insurance regulations effective from October 2013. Moreover, TPAs are not supposed to have any target for claims settlement. But, one TPA internal emails show that employees are given a target for daily claims payment. They cannot pay an amount more than the daily target.
 

According to Mr Damani, “The good old cashless mediclaim days are no longer available with government insurers, who realised it was more expensive than reimbursement claims. There is no financial incentive to restart cashless facility. Information on package rates for 42 standard procedures will help policyholders know what they are entitled to. Today, there is a lack of transparency and third party administrators (TPAs) have huge discretionary powers. Bills for same procedure undergone in the same hospital are settled with different amounts.”
 

Read –Mediclaim packaged rates for 42 ailments will marginalise TPAs' powers

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Citizens join signature campaign to stop persecution of Dr Ashok Khemka

Citizens from the tri-city of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula launched a signature campaign asking Haryana government to stop prosecution of Dr Ashok Khemka

Citizens from Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula have launched a signature drive asking Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to stop prosecution, drop charge sheet and an enquiry by CAG against IAS officer Dr Ashok Khemka.

 

Already over 17,500 people from India and abroad have signed an online petition at Change.org started by Sucheta Dalal, managing editor of Moneylife and founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation.

 

Dr Khemka dared to question the land deals of Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law, with the powerful realty giant DLF, which magically transferred into humungous profits from Mr Vadra.


 

When that happened, the Haryana government did not stop at mere transfer. It wants to crush and victimize Dr Khemka. The Haryana chief minister served Dr Khemka a charge sheet for "having caused damage to the reputation of Robert Vadra and that of DLF," and also for "illegally" cancelling the land deal. It also started an investigation into Dr Khemka's role as the MD of Haryana Warehousing Corporation, designed to harass and intimidate him. In an unprecedented move, the state government has ordered an audit by State Auditor General targeted only at him.

 

Anish Aggarwal, a concerned citizen of Haryana, who is helping Change.org, reach out to the public, said, "Dr Ashok Khemka has remained dedicated to the task of serving the people of India in line with the ethics of the elite service that he joined. But that has not gone down well with our politicians.  He has been transferred 44 times in 22 years - and thrice in 2012 alone."

 

"He (Dr Khemka) is unique because his actions have never been targeted at any political party, but only against corruption. We need more people like him to rebuild India’s steel frame, which is our administrative service. Let us tell Haryana that we, the People will not stand silent while the state persecutes and crushes honest officials," Aggarwal said.

 

At Moneylife Foundation’s 4th anniversary celebration, Dr Khemka spoke about how people remain mute spectators even when they see someone being bashed in public.

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COMMENTS

shirish patwa

3 years ago

It is really very shameful that IAS Officer like Dr Ahok Khemka who is the uprightness personified,should be persecuted by petty politicians like Hooda and others.Rahul Gandhi should stop issuing sermons on probity in public life,if he has any sense of morality left in him.

Challa Hanumanth Rao

3 years ago

I appreciate the daring attempt of Suchetha Dalal to support Dr Kemka openly.I suggest if this govt act proved illegal then a case against DLF and Haryana Govt to be filed and Mr VADRA should be prosecuted and to be sent to Jail.

Pl let me know in what way I can support you from a distant place .

Challa Hanumanth Rao

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