Thursday, April 22, 2010

Letter to C.M. on Gram Nyayalayas

22nd April, 2010

Sri K. Rosaiah
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
AP Secretariat

Sub: Immediate implementation of The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 (Act 4 of 2009) – Reg.

As you are aware, the Parliament of India has enacted the landmark Gram Nyayalayas Act. The Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament in December, 2008 and the President of India gave her assent on 7th January, 2009. This historic achievement will greatly contribute towards restoring the culture of the rule of law which has been gradually eroded. This statute offers the great promise of speedy, accessible and affordable justice to the poor who have hitherto not been able to access courts because of barriers posed by costs, distance, language and procedural difficulties.

This enabling law, at one stroke, provides for the creation of over 1100 local courts in Andhra Pradesh - under the law, every intermediate panchayat (Mandal) would have at least one rural court. All these local courts will be an integral part of the independent justice system, which is the corner stone of our Constitution and rule of law.

Now, in order to ensure that this great promise is converted into actual, tangible outcomes - at the earliest, the State Government must undertake the following steps, as per the provisions of The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 (Act 4 of 2009).

  • Establishment of Gram Nyayalayas in all Mandals, in consultation with the High Court (Section 3 (1)).
  • Appointment of Nyayadhikaris in consultation with the High Court (Sec 5).
  • Ensuring necessary facilities for enabling the conduct of trials in the villages (Sec 9).
  • Defining the civil and criminal jurisdiction of these courts (Sec. 12 (2) and 14 (3) read with the First and Second Schedules).
  • Approaching the High Court for setting pecuniary limits of civil cases to be tried by these courts (Sec. 13(2)).
  • We understand that the Union Government has conveyed its commitment to: (i) bearing the entire capital cost of setting up of these courts (estimated to be around Rs. 18 lakhs per one such Gram Nyayalaya) and (ii) reimbursing a substantial part of the running costs of these courts (estimated to be around Rs. 6.4 lakhs per court per year). Reports indicate that the Union Law Minister has announced the allocation of Rs. 1400 crores for the setting up of Gram Nyayalayas across the country this year. Now that such funding is available, the State Government should ensure the allocation of adequate financial resources for these courts, by sending proposals to the Union government for financial assistance.
  • Other procedural, administrative and consultative steps to expeditiously constitute Gram Nyayalayas and ensure their smooth and efficient functioning.

Now that the law is in place, it is imperative that urgent steps are taken to constitute the local courts to help the poor and ensure speedy justice. I therefore urge you to immediately approach the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and initiate the steps necessary to constitute the courts at the earliest. Preparatory work on the above lines needs to be completed before the courts are constituted. In particular, budgetary allocations, making available the necessary infrastructure, framing of rules by both the Government and the High Court and appointment of the Nyayadhikaris have to be taken up immediately.

In view of the importance of the issue, I am marking a copy of this letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Governor of Andhra Pradesh and the State Law Minister and making the contents public.


Jayaprakash Narayan

Copy to:
Justice Nisar Ahmed Kakru, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
Sri ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Andhra Pradesh.
Sri MV Raman Rao, Minister for Law and Courts, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh.

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