Post October 31: Village courts likely to be setup in UT of J&K

AVINAV VERMA. Updated: 8/13/2019 11:30:18 AM Front Page

Gram Nyayalayas Act among 106 Central laws extended

JAMMU: Come October 31, and Gram Nyayalayas (village courts) are likely to be established across the Jammu and Kashmir under the Gram Nyayalayas Act 2009, to provide “inexpensive justice” to people in rural areas at Panchayat level.
The said Act is one of the 106 Central laws, which will be applied to newly announced Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh under the fifth schedule of the constitution after October 31, under the J&K Reorganisation Act-2019.
On August 5th, government revoked the special status of the state government and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which will come to existence after October 31st.
Under the said Act, a Gram Nyayalaya will be established for every Panchayat at intermediate level or a group of contiguous Panchayats at intermediate level in a district
These Gram Nyayalayas would try criminal cases, civil suits, claims or disputes which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Act, even as their primary focus remains to bring about conciliation between the parties.
As per the act, each Gram Nyayalaya is a court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class and its presiding officer (Nyayadhikari) is appointed by the State Government in consultation with the High Court.
“The judges who preside the Grama Nyayalaya are strictly judicial officers. Seat of the Gram Nyayalaya would be located at the headquarters of the intermediate Panchayat, they go to villages, work there and dispose of the cases,” the provisions of the act read.
“A Gram Nyayalaya is not be bound by the rules of evidence provided in thin the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 but is guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to any rule made by the High Court,” the act reads.
“The judgment and order passed by the Gram Nyayalaya is deemed to be a decree. An appeal against a judgement of the Gram Nyayalaya is taken forward to Session Courts in case of criminal case District courts in case of civil cases,” it says.
The setting up of Gram Nyayalayas is considered as an important measure to reduce arrears and is a part of the judicial reforms. It is estimated that Gram Nyayalayas can reduce around 50% of the pendency of cases in subordinate courts and can take care of the new litigations which will be disposed within six months.
As per the reports, 194 Gram Nyayalayas were established since till 2015 in 10 state and centre government had spent Rs 16.56 crores so far.
Meanwhile, reluctance of police officials and other State functionaries to invoke jurisdiction of Gram Nyayalayas, lukewarm response of the Bar, non-availability of notaries and stamp vendors, problem of concurrent jurisdiction of regular courts etc. are some of the issues indicated by the States which are coming in the way of operationalisation of the Gram Nayayalayas.
Further, majority of States have now set up regular courts at Taluk level, thus reducing the demand for gram nayayalayas.

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