Judicial Reforms

Nari Adalat: Women-only Courts


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Nari Adalat

Mains level: Not Much

naari adalat

Central Idea

  • The government is launching a unique initiative ‘Nari Adalat’ to establish women-only courts at the village level.

Nari Adalat

  • Nari Adalat aims to provide an alternative dispute resolution forum for issues such as domestic violence, property rights, and countering patriarchal norms.
  • The pilot project will commence in 50 villages each in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, with plans for nationwide implementation over the next six months.

Structure and Functioning  

  • Composition: Each Nari Adalat will consist of 7-9 members, with half elected members of the gram panchayat and the other half being women with social standing, such as teachers, doctors, and social workers.
  • Objectives: It will address individual cases, promote awareness about social schemes, collect feedback, raise awareness about legal rights, and resolve cases falling within its jurisdiction.
  • Services Provided: The platform will offer alternate dispute resolution, grievance redressal, counseling, evidence-based decision making, pressure group tactics, negotiation, mediation, and reconciliation for accessible and affordable justice.

Implementation and Collaboration

  • Ministry-In-Charge: The Ministry of Women and Child Development will oversee the implementation of the scheme under the Sambal sub-scheme of Mission Shakti, dedicated to women’s safety, security, and empowerment.
  • Collaborative Efforts: The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Rural Development, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Common Service Centers will collaborate in the implementation process.
  • Standard Operating Procedures: Detailed procedures for all states have been prepared and will be released to ensure uniformity and effective functioning of Nari Adalats.

Inception of the idea

  • Previous Initiatives: The scheme draws inspiration from the Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats (People’s Court of Women) previously operated by the National Commission for Women (NCW).
  • Focus Areas: These courts addressed matters related to family affairs, matrimonial disputes, bigamy, succession, and motor vehicle accident disputes related to labor.
  • Discontinued Scheme: The NCW-assisted Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats conducted a total of 298 sessions before the scheme was discontinued in 2014-15.

 Need for such scheme

  • Persisting Gender Bias: Women’s only courts counter gender bias in traditional court systems, providing a fair and non-discriminatory environment for women’s cases.
  • Cultural and Social Barriers: These courts break down cultural and social barriers that prevent women from seeking justice, offering a culturally sensitive space where they can freely participate.
  • Empowerment and Agency: Women’s only courts empower women to assert their rights, challenge patriarchal norms, and access justice independently.
  • Addressing Specific Issues: These courts focus on women’s unique issues, including domestic violence, property rights, and gender-based discrimination.
  • Enhanced Access to Justice: By being located at the village level, women’s only courts improve access to justice for women who face geographical and logistical challenges in reaching mainstream courts.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: These courts offer mediation and negotiation options, which are more effective and less adversarial for resolving disputes, particularly in family and community conflicts.
  • Precedents and Awareness: Women’s only courts set legal precedents and raise awareness about women’s rights, influencing social norms and promoting positive change.


  • The establishment of women-only courts at the village level through the Nari Adalat initiative demonstrates the government’s commitment to empowering women and promoting gender justice.

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