Throw some light on the problems that creates hurdles in effective functioning of the Gram Nyayalayas.

As per several reports, over 3.5 crore cases are pending in the judiciary, out of which more than 75% are civil cases. Thus, judicial reforms, Alternate Dispute Resolution & Gram Nyayalayas are needed to prevent “Matsyanyaya” where big fish eats the small fish.

Features of Gram Nyayalayas:

  1. Both civil and criminal cases are handled.
  2. Headquartered at Panchayat Samiti level.
  3. Both centre and state contribute to its functioning.
  4. Only Judicial magistrate 1st class can hear cases.
  5. Appeal to district judge.
  6. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 doesn’t apply but principles of Natural Justice follow & mediations are allowed.

Challenges:

  • Investigation by the NLSA found that more than 15 states haven’t even setup Gram-Nyayalayas.
  • Cooperative federalism, state cooperation & funding is missing.
  • Lack of ICT, Tech, etc is hampering their effectiveness.
  • Many states have not passed laws & regulations to give effect to the act.
  • Lack of qualified & willing judges to undertake it.
  • Lack of awareness among citizens.

Way forward:

Article 39A of DPSPs enjoins state to provide justice & legal aid to all. Hence, reforms are needed to ensure better functioning of Gram Nyayalayas.

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