Gram Nyayalaya - Establishment of Civil and Criminal Court in Indian Villages

Gram Nyayalaya - Background Context: 

The Apex Court has instructed the respective state Governments, which are yet to return with notifications for constituting ‘Gram Nyayalayas’, with immediate effect within four weeks, and asked the high courts to accelerate the procedure of consultation with state governments on this issue.

Gram Nyayalaya for Both Civil and Criminal Court

What is the Issue?

After the instructions from the apex court, only 11 states have taken actions to notify Gram Nyayalayas. Several states have provided notifications for the institution of “Gram Nyayalayas” but all of them weren't actually functioning or were not active except, in folliwng states
  • Kerala 
  • Maharashtra 
  • Rajasthan  
Only mere 208 ‘Gram Nyayalayas’ are active within India as against 2,500 estimated to be needed by the 12th five-year plan.

About Gram Nyayalaya

Gram Nyayalayas (i.e. village courts) are instituted under the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 for immediate and simple access to justice system within the remote and rural areas of India.

The Act came into effect on 2 October 2009.

Composition:

The Gram Nyayalayas are guided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have an equivalent capability and competency, appreciate same salary, comfort and welfare of a Judicial Magistrate of first-class. These Nyayadhikari are to be chosen by the state government in consultation with the respective apex court.

Jurisdiction: 

  • A Gram Nyayalaya have jurisdiction control over a geographical area as specified by a notification by the state government in consultation with the respective apex court of India. 
  • The Court can function as the "Anywhere Mobile Court” at locations within the jurisdiction of appointed Gram Nyayalaya.
  • Establishment of both civil court jurisdiction and criminal court jurisdiction over the wrongdoing or crimes.
  • The budget and capital of jurisdiction of the “Gram Nyayalayas” are predetermined by the respective High Courts.
  • The primary goal of “Gram Nyayalayas” and the powers given to them is simply to  undertake or consider certain proofs & evidences to deliver justice, which might otherwise not be unwelcomed or acceptable under Indian Evidence Act.

Procedure to be Followed

Delivering the justice is the primary aim of “Gram Nyayalayas”, hence they can follow an exceptional process in civil matters, during a manner it considers it to be just important and fair within the interest and context of justice.

Gram Nyayalayas enables appeasement or peace-making of the dispute and settlement of an equivalent within the first instance.

Appeals

Appeals or reconsideration in civil and criminal cases shall lie to, or mislead the Court of Session, which shall be heard and concluded of within the time period of six months from the date of filing of such request of reconsideration.

Significance

The establishment of “Gram Nyayalayas” is taken into account as a crucial action to reduce deficit and is a part of the judicial reconstruct. It is evaluated that “Gram Nyayalayas” can reduce approximately 50% of the undecided (awaiting) cases in subordinate courts and may look out of the new litigations which can be disposed within six months. 

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