Friday, December 19, 2008

Accessible, Affordable and Speedy Justice to the Common Man

Setting up of Local Courts/Gram Nyayalayas in India

Here is a snapshot of milestone events leading to the passing of the historic Gram Nyayalayas Bill (2008) by the Rajya Sabha on December 17th, 2008:

August, 1997

  • Lok Satta Movement formed for ushering in fundamental democratic reforms in India. Its key goals include establishment of local courts for speedy, accessible and affordable justice (on August 3rd, 1997).
  • Lok Satta immediately launches pan-Indian advocacy-cum-communication campaign on the issue.

February, 2003

  • Lok Satta presents the draft AP Sthanika Nyayalaya Bill (2003) to the AP Bar Association.
  • Lok Satta brings together leading jurists, civil society activists, reputed academicians and (fmr) administrators on a common platform to push forward the agenda. (February 12th, 2003, Hyderabad)
  • Lok Satta, in consultation with the luminaries above, prepares the draft AP Nagar Nyayalaya Bill (2003) (February 25th, 2003)
April, 2005Dr. JP (on behalf of Lok Satta) makes a presentation on Access to Speedy Justice to the National Advisory Council (NAC); submits the draft Local Courts Bill (April 21st, 2005).
July, 2005

  • NAC accepts the draft Local Courts Bill submitted by Lok Satta and submits it to the Union Government.
  • Union Law Minister HR Bharadwaj announces the Gram Nyayalayas Bill, 2005 (formerly Local Courts Bill)

November, 2005 Dr. JP (on behalf of Lok Satta) proposes key revisions to the Gram Nyayalayas Bill (2005) incorporating major amendments with respect to the functional and territorial jurisdiction and improving access and justice delivery to the common citizens.

December, 2005 NAC accepts Lok Satta’s amendments and communicates the same to the Union Government (December 7th, 2005).
May, 2007

  • Government accepts the recommendations of the NAC on Gram Nyayalayas; comes up with draft Gram Nyayalayas Bill (2007)
  • Draft bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha and referred to the EM Sudarsana Natchiappan-led Standing Committee.
  • Committee recommends key changes in the draft Bill to the Union Cabinet; Cabinet accepts amendments and prepares revised version.
  • Lok Satta closely involved in all stages involving drafting and amending draft bill.

December, 2008

  • Gram Nyayalayas Bill (2008) passed by Rajya Sabha (December 17th, 2008; Bill XLVII of 2008)
  • To be passed by the Lok Sabha.

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