The Supreme Court on Wednesday called out several States and Union Territories for failing to set up 'Gram Nyayalayas'. The states were pulled up by the Apex Court in view of an Act passed by Parliament in 2008 to ensure access to justice for the poor people from rural background.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice NV Ramana imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the state government of Assam, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, and West Bengal for not filing their responses in the court. The court also further instructed these states and union territories to notify the top court about setting up Gram Nyayalay within a month.
Justice Ramana also made an observation that some States and UTs have not taken any initiative and no notification has been issued in the matter. The court has further granted the States and UTs four weeks to do the same.
Earlier on September 2, the Top Court had issued a notice to the government at the Centre, States and UTs on public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGOs National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and Society for Fast Justice.
According to the plea, directions were needed to be issued to all states and UTs to notify and establish Gram Nyayalayas as statutorily provided for under the Gram Nyayalays Act, 2008.
The PIL also stated that only 208 Gram Nyayalayas are functioning in India against the 2,500 estimated to be required by the 12th five-year plan. Adding further the PIL also informed that only 11 states have so far taken steps to notify Gram Nyayalayas.
An Act was passed by Parliament in 2008, which aimed at providing access to justice to citizens at their doorsteps and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not refused to any citizen because of social, economic or other disabilities, a provided for the establishment of 'Gram Nyayalayas' at the grass-roots level.
Sections 5 and 6 of the Act provides that the state government in consultation with the High Court will appoint a Nyayadhikari for each Gram Nyayalaya, who will be a person eligible to be appointed as a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class.
(With inputs from ANI)