Report No. 154
20. Procedure to be followed by Nyaya Panchayat in Civil disputes.-
(1) The party initiating a civil dispute of the nature referred to in section 15 shall file a petition before the Nyaya Panchayat in the prescribed form furnished to him free of cost, stating his name and address of the opposite party and a brief statement of his case.
(2) The petitioner shall not be required to pay any court fees on his petition.
(3) The Nyaya Panchayat shall serve a notice on the opposite party enclosing a copy of the petition and fixing a date for his appearance and to file a counter in defence.
(4) After the respondent files his counter the Nyaya Panchayat shall fix a date for hearing and inform both the parties to be present.
(5) (a) On the date fixed for hearing the Nyaya Panchayat shall hear both the parties in regard to their respective contentions and if the dispute is of a petty nature which does not require recording of any evidence pronounce the decision on the same day.
(b) In case any of the parties to the dispute desire to produce oral and or documentary evidence or the members of the Nyaya Panchayat are of the opinion that the disputes involves questions of fact which have to be decided by recording oral or documentary evidence for a just decision on the dispute, the Nyaya Panchayat shall require the parties to produce oral and documentary evidence, if any, on a date fixed for hearing.
(6) Evidence given orally before the Nyaya Panchayat shall be on oath or on solemn affirmation.
(7) The evidence of each person shall be recorded in the form of a memorandum of the substance of the evidence.
(8) In regard to any incidental matters that may arise during the course of enquiry, the Nyaya Panchayat shall adopt such procedure as is deemed fit from tune to time.
(9) The Nyaya Panchayat shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act V of 1908), while trying the suit in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(i) the summoning and enforcing attendance of any defendant or witness and examining the witness on oath;
(ii) the discovery and production of any document or other material object produceable as evidence;
(iii) the reception of evidence on affidavits.
(10) The hearing shall be on a day-to-day basis and shall be disposed of within a period of six weeks.
(11) After the enquiry is completed the members shall discuss among themselves and pronounce the decision within one week after the last day of hearing. The order shall be signed by all the members present. Where the decision is by majority of the members present that fact should be noted in the order itself and the dissenting members also shall record their reasons for the dissent in the order.
(12) The order shall contain the number of the petition, the names of the parties, the particulars of the claim, the points in issue, the substance of evidence adduced on either side, if any, the findings reached by the Nyaya Panchayat and the reasons therefor. The order shall be written and pronounced either by the Nyayadhyaksha or by a member authorised by him. A copy of the order shall be delivered to both the parties as quickly as possible free of cost.