Ensuring justice in rural India has always been a challenge, Gram Nyayalaya is an attempt to establish such a institutions that mitigate this challenge;
In this article we will discuss Gram Nyayalaya in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects, So to understand this article well, definitely read till the end, you will get to know a lot of new things.
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Gram Nyayalaya Explained
What is Gram Nyayalaya?
The Gram Nyayalayas Act was enacted in 2008 with the objective of providing quick and easy access to judicial system to the rural people . Its objective is to provide justice to the rural citizens at their doorstep and to ensure that no rural citizen is deprived of the opportunity to get justice due to any kind of socio-economic disabilities.
Reason for setting up Gram Nyayalaya
Panchayati Raj system which is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy and which is based on Gandhi Philosophy; It became a part of our practice after it was given statutory status in 1993. At that time Panchayats used to sit in rural areas for speedy and amicable justice, but they did not have statutory status.
Article 39A of the same Directive Principles of the Constitution states that free legal aid should be provided to the poor and weaker sections of the society so as to ensure justice for all. One thing happened,
The second thing is that in 1986, the Law Commission of India in its 114th report (which was made with the focus of Gram Nyayalaya) has suggested the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas so that cheap and proper justice can be made accessible to the common citizen. The Gram Nyayalaya Act pdf made in 2008 is largely based on the recommendations of the Law Commission.
Third, fair justice is a central philosophy of democracy. That is why in order to realize democracy, it becomes necessary that justice should be made available to the poor, downtrodden and exploited at their doorsteps so that the rural people can get quick, cheap and proper justice.
Provisions of Gram Nyayalaya
1.The State Government, after consultation with the High Court under the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, for each Panchayat at the intermediate level in the district or for a group of contiguous Panchayats at the intermediate level or in the State where there is no Panchayat at the intermediate level, Can establish Gram Nyayalaya for the group.
2. The State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, fix the local limits of the Gram Nyayalaya or increase or decrease such limits.
3. The headquarters of every Gram Nyayalaya shall be located at the headquarters of the intermediate Panchayat in which the Gram Nyayalaya is established or at such other place as may be notified by the State Government.
4. The State Government shall, in consultation with the High Court, appoint a Judge for each Gram Nyayalaya. Provided that a person shall be qualified to be appointed as a judicial officer only if he is eligible to be appointed as a judicial magistrate of the first class.
5. The Nyayadhikaris (न्यायाधिकारी) who preside over these Gram Nyayalayas shall be essentially judicial officers and shall receive the same salary and the same powers as a magistrate of the first class, who work under the High Courts. .
6. The State Government will provide all facilities to the Gram Nyayalaya, including the arrangement of vehicles for setting up a movable court by the Nyayadhikari while conducting the trial or proceedings outside its headquarters.
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Powers and Authority of Gram Nyayalaya
1. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 or the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or in any other law for the time being in force, the Gram Nyayalaya shall exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction.” to the extent specified under the “Gram Nyayalaya Act”.
2. The District Court or Court of Session may, with effect from such date as may be notified by the High Court, transfer the civil or criminal cases pending before the Courts subordinate to it, to the Court competent to try or dispose of such cases. The Gram Nyayalaya may, at its discretion, either re-trial those cases or proceed with them from the stage at which the transfers were made.
3. The State Legal Services Authority constituted under section 6 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 shall prepare a panel of advocates and assign at least two of them to be attached with each Gram Nyayalaya, so that His services may be made available by the Gram Nyayalaya to the accused unable to appoint an advocate. However, a person can hire a private lawyer if he so desires.
4. The Gram Nyayalaya shall be a mobile court and shall exercise the power of both civil and criminal courts and shall deal with both types of cases. However, in criminal cases, the Gram Nyayalaya deals with those which carry a maximum sentence of two years.
5. Apart from this, the Gram Nyayalaya will also have the following powers:
- dismiss a case or proceed ex parte for irregularity
- In respect of any incidental subject which may arise in the course of the proceedings, the Gram Nyayalaya shall adopt such procedure as it may consider just and reasonable in the interest of justice.
- The proceedings shall, as far as practicable, be consistent with the interests of justice and the hearing shall continue on a day-to-day basis till its conclusion. unless the Gram Nyayalaya, for reasons to be recorded in writing, considers it necessary to adjourn the hearing beyond the next day.
- Every decision shall be made by the Gram Nyayalaya immediately after the conclusion of the hearing or at a specified time not later than fifteen days, notice of which shall be given to the parties; To be heard in open court.
6. The Gram Nyayalaya shall exercise the powers of the Civil Court with certain modifications and shall follow the special procedure laid down in the Act.
7. The Gram Nyayalaya shall make every effort to reach a settlement between the parties so that the dispute is resolved amicably and shall also appoint mediators for the purpose.
8. The order passed by the Gram Nyayalaya shall have the same status as that of the rulers and the Gram Nyayalaya shall follow a concise procedure to prevent delay in its implementation.
9. The Gram Nyayalaya will not be bound by the process of collecting evidence under the Indian Evidence Act 1872 and the process of judging on its basis. Rather it will be guided by the principles of natural justice. That too until such a rule is made by the High Court.
10. If the decision in criminal matters is not acceptable to anyone, then they can appeal in the District Sessions Court. Which will be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of the appeal.
11. Similarly, in civil cases, if the decision is not acceptable to anyone, then he can appeal to the District Court. Which will be heard and disposed of within a period of six months from the date of filing of the appeal.
12. Every police officer working within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Gram Nyayalaya shall be bound to assist the Gram Nyayalaya in the exercise of its lawful authority. That is to say, whenever the Gram Nyayalaya, in the discharge of its functions, directs any revenue officer or police officer or Government servant to assist the Gram Nyayalaya, he shall be bound to render such assistance.
Facts related to the establishment of Gram Nyayalaya
As also understood above, under the Gram Nyayalayas Act 2008, the State Governments have to establish Gram Nyayalayas in consultation with the High Courts.
Under the Act, it is expected to establish five thousand Gram Nyayalayas. For which the central government will provide Rs 1400 crore as assistance to the respective states.
However, in spite of all this, the condition of the Gram Nyayalaya has not been up to the mark at all. According to the figures of 2019, only a few states given below have started it. After this, the rest of the state is still following the old pattern in this matter.
State wise Gram Nyayalaya status as per 2019 data
There are many reasons behind not encouraging Gram Nyayalayas such as reluctance of police officers and other state employees to remain within the jurisdiction of Gram Nyayalayas, unenthusiastic response of Bar Councils, non-availability of notaries and stamp vendors, concurrent functioning of regular courts. Jurisdiction, etc.
However, issues affecting the functioning of Gram Nyayalayas were discussed in a conference of high courts and chief ministers of states in April 2013. In this conference, it was decided that the State Government and the High Court should jointly take a decision regarding the establishment of Village Nyayalayas, wherever possible and also take care of their local problems. The entire focus should be on establishing Gram Nyayalayas in those talukas where there is no regular court.
Overall this is the Gram Nyayalaya. Hope it is understood. Below is a link to other important articles, please read it too –
⚫ Other Important Articles ⚫
भारत की राजव्यवस्था
Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 – Wikipedia
A study on Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008
ग्राम_न्यायालय अधिनियम, 2008 pdf