Judicial Pendency

[pib] Scheme for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Gram Nyayalayas Scheme

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for the Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary. It also approved the decision to support the Gram Nyayalayas by proving recurring and non-recurring grants for a period of 5 years with a total outlay of Rs 50 crores.

About the Scheme

  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been in operation since 1993-94.
  • Adequacy of judicial infrastructure is critical for the reduction of pendency and backlog of cases in Courts.
  • The primary responsibility of infrastructure development for the subordinate judiciary rests with the State Governments.
  • The present proposal provides for additional activities like the construction of lawyer halls, toilets complexes and digital computer rooms.
  • This will add to the convenience of lawyers and litigants besides reducing the digital divide.

Why such a move?

  • Adequacy of judicial infrastructure is critical for the reduction of pendency and backlog of cases in Courts.
  • Several courts are still functioning in rented premises with insufficient space and some in dilapidated conditions without basic amenities.
  • Well-equipped judicial infrastructure facilitates the administration of justice in a manner that allows easy access and timely delivery of justice to all.

What is Gram Nyayalayas Scheme?

  • Gram Nyayalayas were established for speedy and easy access to the justice system in the rural areas across the country.
  • The Gram Nyayalayas Act came into force on October 2, 2009.
  • In terms of Section 3(1) of the Act, it is for the State Governments to establish Gram Nyayalayas in consultation with the respective High Courts.
  • The Act authorizes Gram Nyayalaya to hold a mobile court outside its headquarters.
  • Some major reasons behind the non-enforcement include financial constraints, the reluctance of lawyers, police and other government officials.

Features of the Gram Nyayalayas

  • Gram Nyayalaya is established generally at headquarter of every Panchayat at the intermediate level or a group of contiguous panchayat in a district where there is no panchayat at an intermediate level.
  • The Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have the same power, enjoy the same salary and benefits of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
  • Such Nyayadhikari is to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.

Jurisdiction

  • A Gram Nyayalaya have jurisdiction over an area specified by a notification by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.
  • The Court can function as a mobile court at any place within the jurisdiction of such Gram Nyayalaya, after giving wide publicity to that regard.
  • The Gram Nyayalayas have both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the offences and nature of suits specified in the First, Second and Third schedule of the Act.
  • The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Nyayalayas are fixed by the respective High Courts.
  • Appeals in criminal matter can be made to the Sessions Court in the respective jurisdiction and in civil matters to the District Court within a period of one month from the date of judgment.

Trials

  • Gram Nyayalayas can follow special procedures in civil matters, in a manner it deem just and reasonable in the interest of justice.
  • Civil suits are proceeded on a day-to-day basis, with limited adjournments and are to be disposed of within a period of six months from the date of institution of the suit.
  • In execution of a decree, the Court can allow special procedures following rules of natural justice.
  • Gram Nyayalayas allow for conciliation of the dispute and settlement of the same in the first instance.
  • They have been given the power to accept certain evidence which would otherwise not be acceptable under the Indian Evidence Act.
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