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Report No. 154

Statement of Objects and Reasons

Speedy and efficient justice is an essential ingredient of good governance. It is common knowledge that the prevailing system of administration of Justice is cluttered with dilatory procedures and is burdened with hierarchy of appeals and revisions consuming decades. Litigation has become oppressive with technicalities, excessive professional intervention and exorbitant costs. The average person is deterred by the costly and delayed judicial and legal process. Even petty problems get complicated and it is difficult to see the light of relief through the dark tunnels of procedure and precedent.

In this background, creation of a mechanism to settle disputes and render justice with speed, efficiency and economy has been engaging the attention of the Government for quite sometime. In order to minimise the procedural delays and needless expenditure and to see that judicial decisions are given in relatively simple and easy cases speedily and with a view to establish judicial bodies at Mandal level, integrating the age old concept of village elders settling disputes with the modem principles of natural justice, for hearing and deciding upon petty litigations without involving cumbersome legal process, the Government have decided to, undertake a suitable legislation for establishment of "Nyaya Panchayat" at Mandal Level.

The salient features of the proposed legislation are,-

(1) there will be a Mandala Nyaya Panchayat in every Mandal;

(2) the Nyaya Panchayat shall consist of five members nominated by the District Magistrate in consultation with the District Judge, of whom one shall be a member belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes or Backward Classes or Minorities or one shall be a woman;

(3) for nomination as member one should be a law graduate or graduate or well-known social worker or a person having good reputation;

(4) there shall be a Nyayadhyaksha who shall be nominated by the District Magistrate. He shall be a retired judicial officer or must have held a post in Government and had exercised magisterial powers etc.;

(5) one of the members will be nominated as Nyayadhyaksha and if the woman member is nominated she shall be called as Mahila Nyayadhyaksha. The Nyayadhyaksha or Mahila Nyayadhyaksha as the case may be will preside over and conduct the proceedings;

(6) all offices will be honorary offices;

(7) the Nyaya Panchayats will try on the Civil side mainly suits of the value which does not exceed 50,000, suits relating to non-payment of wages, disputes between landlord and lessee, suits relating to water rights, boundary disputes, right of way, purchase and sale of lands, matrimonial disputes which can be resolved by conciliation, maintenance disputes etc. which are of a trivial nature;

(8) the Nyaya Panchayat will try on the criminal side mainly offences punishable mostly with imprisonment not exceeding six months or with fine, offences relating to theft of property not exceeding rupees fifty thousands in value, certain offences under the A.P. Prohibition Act, all offences under the A.P. Panchayat Raj Act, etc;

(9) while trying both civil and criminal cases, the Nyaya Panchayat will follow a simple procedure and not the elaborate procedure either under the code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Strict rules of evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 are also not made applicable;

(10) Provisions are made for quick disposal of the cases;

(11) the Nyayapala will assist the Nyaya Panchayat in important civil case and in criminal cases where it is considered that the punishment of imprisonment should be imposed. An appeal will lie to the District Judge from a decision of the Nyaya Panchayat;

(12) Police will assist the Nyaya Panchayat in exercise of its powers.

This Bill seeks to give effect to the above decisions.

(T. Seetharam)
Minister for Services,
Courts and Justice.

Memorandum Regarding Delegated Legislation

Clauses 1(3), 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 15(15), 20(A), 20(B), 27, 42(1), 43(1) and 47 of the Bill authorise the Government to issue notifications or orders or to make rules in respect of matters specified therein. All such orders or rules which are intended to cover matters mostly of procedural nature are to be laid on the Table of the Legislative Assembly of the State and will be subjected to any modifications made by the Legislative Assembly.

The above provisions of the Bill regarding delegated legislation are thus of a normal type and are mainly intended to cover matters of procedure.

(T. Seetharam)
Minister for Services,
Courts and Justice.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Back

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