Gram Nyayalayas Act 2008 had into force on October 2, 2009. The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 has been enacted to provide for the establishment of the Gram Nyayalayas at the grass roots level for the purpose of providing access to justice to the citizens at their door steps. Here are some important points, which you have to note down:
- Objective is to provide inexpensive justice to people in rural areas at their doorsteps. (Doorsteps do not mean that court will come to the home of the parties. It means that it is available at Panchayat level and dispose the work by going to the villages)
- Each Gram Nyayalaya is a court of Judicial Magistrate of the first classand its presiding officer (Nyayadhikari) is appointed by the State Government in consultation with the High Court. (Please note that in regular civil / judicial courts, the High Court itself makes appointments)
- A Gram Nyayalaya is established for every Panchayat at intermediate level or a group of contiguous Panchayats at intermediate level in a district.
- Seat of the Gram Nyayalaya is located at the headquarters of the intermediate Panchayat, they go to villages, work there and dispose of the cases.
- The judges who preside the Grama Nyayalaya are strictly judicial officers. They draw the same salary, deriving the same powers as First Class Magistratesworking under High Courts.
- A Grama Nyayalaya is a mobile court and exercises the powers of both Criminal and Civil Courts.
- Gram Nyayalaya try criminal cases, civil suits, claims or disputes which are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Act. These are summarized as below:
- Offences not punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.
- Theft as well as receiving or retaining stolen property, where the value of the property stolen does not exceed rupees twenty thousand
- Offences related to central acts such as payment of wages, minimum wages, Protection of civil rights, Bonded labour, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act etc.
- Offences under states acts which are notified by each state government.
- Civil and Property suits such as use of common pasture, water channels, farms, right to draw water from a well or tube well etc.
- The first schedule and second schedule of the Gram Nyayalaya act can be amended by both the central and state governments.
- Each Gram Nyayalaya exercises the power of a Civil Court with some modification such as special procedure as mentioned in the act.
- The primary focus of the Gram Nyayalaya is to bring about conciliation between the parties.
- The judgment and order passed by the Gram Nyayalaya is deemed to be a decree.
A Gram Nyayalaya is not be bound by the rules of evidence provided in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 but is guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to any rule made by the High Court.
- An appeal against a judgement of the Gram Nyayalaya is taken forward as follows:
- Session Courts in case of criminal case
- District courts in case of civil cases
By March 2015, a total of 194 Gram Nyayalayas have been notified in 10 States of India as follows:[table id=206 /]
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