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Report No. 114

3.7. Composition of Gram Nyayalaya.-

Once participatory model was accepted as the starting point of discussion, the composition of the forum had to be devised with such care that it inspires the confidence of the consumers of justice. Rejecting a purely elected body and simultaneously rejecting a purely State-nominated judge, the Commission devised a forum composed of a legally trained mind to be designated as Panchayati Raj Judge who would preside over the forum consisting of himself and two lay judges to be selected by him from the panel drawn up for the purpose. The three would constitute the new participatory forum. In devising such a forum, the Commission had in view the mandate of Article 39A of the Constitution as also the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Such a forum would be free from the orchestrated atmosphere of the present day courts; theirs would be an informal approach and the attempt would be to resolve the dispute by consensus. It would have the advantage of what is known as justice by one's own peers. The working paper accordingly suggested a sort of a village court consisting of a judge drawn from the State cadre of judges to be set up for the special purpose, called the Panchayati Raj Judges, and two lay judges. Its advantage, according to the Commission in the working paper, was that the legally trained judge would assist the lay judges in application of law and the two lay judges would bring their commonsense approach, formed and guided by the local traditions and culture, and the behavioural pattern of the village community in resolving the disputes.

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