Idea of rural courts not a hit with states

More than a year after the Gram Nyayalaya Act was notified, only four states have established such rural courts, while five have rejected the idea citing various reasons.

Last Updated: Jan 04, 2011, 15:43 PM IST

New Delhi: The Centre`s plan to set up
5000 `gram nyayalayas` across the country to bring justice
delivery system to the common man`s doorsteps has not found
favour with the state governments.

More than a year after the Gram Nyayalaya Act was
notified, only four states have established such rural courts,
while five have rejected the idea citing various reasons.

According to figures compiled by the Law Ministry,
since the Act was notified on October 2, 2009 to coincide with
Gandhi Jayanti, four states together have established 96
rural courts while five others, including Delhi and Andhra
Pradesh, have informed the Centre about their unwillingness to
set up such courts.

"Due to urbanisation, there is no need to set up Gram
Nyayalayas," Delhi government said in its response to the Law
Ministry.

Similarly, the Andhra Pradesh government informed the
Ministry that "there is no need to set up Gram Nyayalayas as
the existing system is found very effective".

The other states which have refused to set up rural
courts are Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Union Territory of
Chandigarh.

Madhya Pradesh has set up 45 gram nyayalayas,
Maharashtra nine, Orissa one and Rajasthan 46. Out of the
total 96 rural courts established by these states, only 48 are
operational.

Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had recently inaugurated
Rajasthan`s first rural court in the subordinate court
premises in Bassi near capital Jaipur.

A total of Rs 13.47 crore has been released to the
four states so far.

A few months ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had strongly pitched for setting
up of these courts to provide affordable justice to the vast
majority living in villages.

Only 15 of the 28 states have so far responded to the
letters sent by the Law Ministry, seeking proposals for
setting up the Gram Nyayalayas to bring down three crore
pending cases in lower courts.

Jharkhand has formed a high-level committee headed by
the chief secretary of the state "to look into the matter."

Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have agreed to set up these
courts subject to cent per cent financial assistance from the
Centre.

Parliament had passed the Gram Nyayalayas Act in
December 2008. The law provides for setting up of mobile
courts at panchayat level, which would be presided over by a
judicial magistrate (nyayadhikari), with powers to decide
criminal and civil matters within six months.

PTI