//India to set up 6,000 rural courts

India to set up 6,000 rural courts

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

New Delhi – The central government is mulling setting up of more than 6,000 special rural courts to bring speedy justice in rural parts of the country, Union Law Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj has said.

‘The union government is soon going to bring a bill for setting up rural courts, which would be known as ‘Grameen Nyayalayas’. These courts would function in villages at the intermediate panchayat level so that people living in villages do not have to spend money to travel to towns and cities in search of justice,’ the law minister told BBC Hindi in an interview Tuesday.

He said the proposed courts would have the power to try both civil and criminal cases, and would be required to dispose off cases within three months by holding summary trials in public.

‘The judges for these courts would have the power to decide civil cases up to the limit of 100,000 rupees (approximately $2,000) and criminal cases in which there is a sentence of up to two years,’ he said.

He added that a separate judicial cadre would select judges, known as ‘Nyayadhikari’, for the proposed rural courts.

Bhardwaj said the bill was likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of parliament.

The minister also said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would spend Rs.1 billion ($210 million) on modernisation of courts. ‘We aim to link all courts in the country with the Supreme Court, so that progress of all the judges is easily available.’

He added that the government was addressing the backlog of cases in the court by aiming at ‘zero vacancies in High Courts’ followed by district courts. He said 250 judges had been appointed in various high courts in the country.