This is per my limited knowledge :
- A Court makes a reference to Lok Adalat. What has been your stance in the Court ?
- The focus of Lok Adalat is quick resolution of the case via a compromise, if possible. Legalities such as Indian Evidence Act, Code of Civil procedure etc. are not applicable. You can represent your own case in Lok Adalat.
- If both parties reach an agreement, that is formalised by the Lok Adalat into an " Award " . This carries the same force as a Decree from a regular Civil Court and is enforceable similarly. No appeal can be made against this Award since it is, after all, what both parties have already agreed to.
- Exception to this is a " Permanent Lok Adalat ". Where, an Award can be made even without the Consent of any/ both the Parties . For this the LA looks into the merits of the case. As before, this is binding with no appeal possible.
- If the reconciliation attempted in Lok Adalat fails, the case reverts back to the Court it came from when it is adjudicated afresh. Statements made in the Lok Adalat by either party are not supposed to influence in any way the proceedings of the Civil Court.
- You don't need a Lawyer and can plead your own case.
In your specific case, if you can substantiate by some evidence what you are saying , and can commit to payment within / after 8-10 months perhaps best to take that stance and ask for no interest or penalties since yours is a genuine case. The OP will obviously be seeking these , but will have to counter-balance the same against protracted litigation in normal Civil Court. And so would you have to. Since your case as such is weak, best to target a compromise midway. But remember that once you agree and an Award is accordingly made by the Lok Adalat, it carries the force of a Decree of a Court and so has to be obeyed.
Just my thoughts. Request Seniors on this forum to come in.