The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2009

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The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2009 has come into force on 2nd October 2009. This Act has been established to provide Gram Nyayalayas in order to provide Justice to its Citizen at their door steps. This has been enacted with the intention to provide justice with no objection or barriers considering speedy disposal and unnatural delays by Courts. This is a cost effective mechanism at the root level people in villages to settle their legal matters. The performance of this Act was very poor as only 152 Gram Nyayalayas in entire Country have been established out of 5000 as target as of November 2012. This is because of Financial contingencies, reluctance of lawyers, police, etc.

The State Government shall establish any number of Gram Nyayalayas with the consultation of High Court through notification. This Gram Nyayalayas shall be established for every intermediate panchayath to any Districts or no panchayaths. The State Government shall with notifications in the Official Gazette mention the Jurisdiction up to which the specific Gram Nyayalayas shall perform its functions. This extent shall be increased or reduced at any point of time as and when it is required. The headquarters of each Nyayalayas shall be with the panchayath of that region as notified in the Official Gazette.

The State Government with the consultation with the High Court shall appoint Nyayadhikari for each Gram Nyayalayas. These appointed Nyayadhikari shall not be less than a Judicial Magistrate of First Class. The State Government while appointing the Nyayadhikari should give representation to the Scheduled Class, Scheduled Tribes or such othe Communities as specified in the notifications in the Official Gazette. The salary and allowances of Nyayadhikari shall be paid as that of Judicial Magistrate of First Class.

The Nyayadhikari shall not proceed with the proceedings if he has any interest over that Gram Nyayalayas or if any of the parties to the dispute is known to him, etc. Nyayadhikari shall inform this to the District Court or Court of Sessions to transfer the matter to other Nyayadhikari. This Nyayadhikari shall used to visit the village periodically and conduct his legal functions as prescribed in his Jurisdiction Limits or any cause of action arises in his Jurisdiction, etc, and holds mobile Court outside the headquarters as awareness to the villagers. The State Governments shall provide lots of support to Gram Nyayalayas by providing Vehicles in support of Mobile Courts conducted by Nyayadhikari.

This Act provides a great importance to its Gram Nyayalayas. Each and every document that is provided by Nyayalayas shall be preceded with the Seal of a Court as specified and in form by High Court with the approval of the State Government. This Gram Nyayalayas shall perform all the activities that is provided under the provisions of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C) and Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (C.P.C) or any other laws for the time being in the force.

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The State Government if it thinks fit shall make any sort of modification in the Part III of first schedule or Part III of second schedule as per State Government competent to frame any number of laws and amend accordingly. The Gram Nyayalayas shall not only functions as that in Provisions under C.P.C and Cr.P.C  in case of adjudication but The Limitation Act, 1963 shall also be applicable to the Suit triable by the Gram Nyayalayas.

The District Court or Sessions Court shall transfer any Civil or Criminal Cases from any Court subordinate to it to the Gram Nyayalayas if it feels necessary and competent to dispose the same. The Gram Nyayalayas shall at discretion retry the cases or try the cases from the stage of the case when it is transferred. The State Government shall appoint any number of Officers and employees to assist the Gram Nyayalayas and their salary and other benefits shall be paid as prescribed by the State Government. These Officers and employees shall perform its duties as prescribed by the Nyayadhikari.

 The State Legal Services Authority constituted by Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 shall prepare a Panel of Advocates out of which atleast two shall be sent to Gram Nyayalayas for representing to the accused who could not appoint an Advocate. In case of any aggrieved party shall go for an Appeal within thirty days from the date of Order passed by Gram Nyayalayas. In certain provisions Appeal shall not lie, either in case if the accused found guilty of its Act, if the fine is below rupees thousand, etc. Even the affected party can go for judicial remedies under Article 32 or 26 of our Indian Constitution.

This Act though framed in order to provide justice to every corner of the Country, it failed to fulfill its objective as there were several such Temples of Justice to perform such functions in much effective way though every Act has its own lacuna. These local and small level Courts are much easily influenced by the Politicians, Money makers, etc.

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by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu