SC asks states to issue notifications for Gram Nyayalayas

New Delhi


The Supreme Court has asked state governments to issue notifications establishing "Gram Nyayalayas" within four weeks and also asked the High Courts to accelerate consultation with department concerned on the matter.

A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana took into account that except Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Gram Nyayalayas are not functional in many states, though all had been issued notice.

The Parliament in 2008 passed an Act for setting up of "Gram Nyayalayas" to enable access to justice to citizens at the doorstep, especially at the grass roots level, and to ensure socio-economic factors do not stand as an impediment for securing justice.

Many states including Gujarat, Haryana, Telangana, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha are yet to file affidavits even after the apex court order in October last year.

"In view of the above, we direct the states, who have not yet issued notifications for establishing the Gram Nyayalayas, to issue the same within a period of four weeks from today and place copies of the same before us with an affidavit," the court said.

In the January 29 order, the top court said the aforementioned states should file their affidavits within one week from today, subject to deposit of Rs 1 lakh by each of the above-mentioned states with the Registrar (Judicial) of the court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and others, brought on record before the court state-wise data elaborating on the steps taken by the authorities for establishing and functioning of "Gram Nyayalayas".

According to the petitioner, Goa had issued notification for establishing two "Gram Nyayalayas" but none were functioning. On the other hand, Haryana issued notification for establishing three but only two are functioning. The petitioner cited more examples - Jharkhand issued notification for establishing six but only one is functioning, and Karnataka issued notification for two but none are functioning.

Bhushan had said only 208 "Gram Nyayalayas" are functional against 2,500 estimated, as per 12th Five-Year plan.IANS