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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rural mobile courts will have mediation power: Bhardwaj

The government plans to empower the over 6,000 proposed Gram Nayayalayas (panchayat-level rural mobile courts) to hold conciliation and mediation proceedings, apart from deciding civil and criminal cases. The objective, according to Indian Union Law and Justice minister H R Bhardwaj, is to reduce litigation and provide affordable and quality justice at the doorstep of the rural masses.

"We as a society have not cared for reducing litigation," said the minister, stressing upon the need for speedy delivery of justice along with measures to curb the pending (2.75 crore) cases.

Inaugurating a conference of state law ministers, law secretaries and registrar generals of High Courts here, Bhardwaj said the rural mobile courts proposed under the Gram Nyayalayas Bill 2007 would help decentralise the judicial system which, at present, is concentrated at the tehsil and district level.

"What is the need for a poor man in a village to go to the district centre for getting justice? Why can't the justice be delivered at his doorstep?" asked Bhardwaj, reminding the dreams of the country's founding fathers.

"It will be the greatest tragedy of our democracy if even after 60 years of our Independence we fail to deliver justice to the poor at their doorstep," the minister said, justifying the move to create a new tier of justice in villages.

Urging the law ministers and law secretaries to join hands for making the Gram Nayayalaya project a success, he said the state governments will have full freedom in recruiting the presiding officers of these mobile courts and the guidelines for the appointment would be framed by the High Court of the state.


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