Report No. 114
3.4. New Forum.-
The prejudice that the Nyaya Panchayats composed of elected representatives suffered at the hands of the elite and the superior courts cannot be wished away. The growth of Nyaya Panchayat was thwarted by the superior courts, but could not subscribe to the view that a lay person not trained in technicalities of laws is capable of resolving disputes and rendering justice. The question then arose: whether an attempt should be made to unify both the points of view. The approach of the Commission was that in order to ward off the fate that Nyaya Panchayat suffered, a synthesis must be made by providing the composition of the forum consisting of a legally trained Judge and two lays Judges. This system is in vogue in numerous countries, a notice of which has been taken in the working paper.
After tentatively defining the composition of the new forum, the Commission approached the question of jurisdiction to be conferred on this forum. In order to be realistic, the Commission proceeded to collect information about the institution of the cases and the nature of disputes coming before the grass-roots level courts at present. The Commission also enquired the nature of disputes coming before the revenue authorities. The analysis of the cases instituted within a given period revealed the nature of disputes coming before the court at the lowest level.
From this examination, the Commission worked out various heads of disputes which largely emanate in rural areas. The approach of the Commission was that simple and uncomplicated disputes which can be resolved in a short time should be entrusted to the new forum. The nature of disputes thus would show that the participation of local population would contribute greater towards their expeditious disposal. That approach was accordingly adopted.