Gram Nyayalayas : Village Courts in India

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Gram Nyayalayas : Village Courts in India

Recently, the Supreme Court has issued notice to the High Courts on a petition filed for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas.

The Supreme Court has sought response from all the High Courts on a petition of the year 2019.

In this petition, there has been a demand to direct the Center and all the states to set up Gram Nyayalayas.

By December 2021, 15 states had notified 476 Gram Nyayalayas. Presently 256 Gram Nyayalayas are functional in 10 states.

Gram Nyayalayas

  • The Law Commission in its 114th report suggested the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas.
  • In the year 2008, the Parliament passed the Gram Nyayalaya Act.

Salient Features of the Act:

  • Provision has been made for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the intermediate Panchayat level.
  • The State Government shall, in consultation with the High Court, appoint a ‘Judiciary’ in each Gram Nyayalaya.
  • It will hear criminal cases, civil suits, claims or disputes.
  • These shall be guided by the principles of natural justice, but shall be subject to any rules made by the High Court.
  • It shall not be bound by the rules of evidence provided in the Indian Evidence Act,

Significance of Gram Nyayalayas:

  • Ensures easy and affordable access to justice,
  • Speedy disposal of cases is possible,
  • There is less pressure on civil courts etc.

Challenges before Gram Nyayalayas:

  • Very few resources are allotted to them or resources are not made available at all.
  • There is a lack of awareness about it among all the stakeholders,
  • There is confusion about the jurisdiction of Gram Nyayalayas etc.

Source – The Hindu

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