The Supreme Court on February 3, 2020 directed the states to set up ‘Gram Nyayalayas‘. The states have been directed to issue notification regarding the same within four weeks.
The ruling was delivered by an SC bench headed by Justice N V Ramana. The bench noted that some states are yet to come out with notifications for establishing the Gram Nyayalayas.
The bench also noted that though several states have issued notifications for establishing the Gram Nyayalayas, most were not functioning except in three states- Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.
Gram Nyayalayas are village courts that aim to provide speedy and easy access to the judicial system in rural areas of the country. The courts will provide all, including the rural people, with easy and cheap access to justice at their doorstep.
SC’s order: Key Highlights
• The Supreme Court has asked the High Courts of the respective states to speed up the process of consultation with the state governments on the issue.
• The bench noted that certain states including Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh have not yet filed their affidavits on the issue despite the court’s direction last year.
• Currently, as per a report submitted to the Supreme Court by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Goa has issued two notifications regarding the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas but none are functioning, Haryana has issued notifications for 3 Gram Nyayalayas but only two are functional.
• Jharkhand had issued notifications for 6 but only one is functioning and Uttar Pradesh, which had to establish 822, had notified 113 Gram Nyayalayas but only 14 are functioning.
• Overall, only 208 Gram Nyayalayas are functioning across the country, as against the required 2500 as per the 12th five-year plan.
The Supreme Court had in September 2019 agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre and all the states to set up Gram Nyayalayas under the supervision and monitoring of the top court.
The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2008. The act provides for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grassroot level.