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Report No. 114

3.2. Report of the Study Team on Nyaya Panchayats.-

After the introduction of the Government of India Act, 1935, various provinces as part of their programme of democratic decentralisation enacted legislation for the revival or revitalisation of Panchayats including Nyaya Panchayats. Government of India appointed a Study Team under the Chairmanship of Mr. G.R. Rajagopaul, a Member of the Law Commission, on the functioning of the Panchayat courts in various States keeping in view the conclusions recorded by the Law Commission in Chapter 43 of its Fourteenth Report.

The Study Team submitted its report. It inter alia recommended that villagers must be given a free hand in electing members of the Nyaya Panchayat and it totally ruled out the system of nomination. Rejecting the suggestion of voluntary submission of disputes for resolution of Nyaya Panchayats, it recommended that the jurisdiction of Nyaya Panchayats should be exclusive but in the first instance, it must be confined to simple, money and other suits and the upper pecuniary limit of civil jurisdiction may be Rs. 250 which may go up to Rs. 500 with the consent of the parties.

It was not in favour of conferring jurisdiction in matrimonial causes. It recommended conferment of jurisdiction for trying criminal cases in respect of petty matters where the punishment in the form of a fine would be an adequate corrective. It was not in favour of conferring revenue jurisdiction on the Nyaya Panchayats. It advocated introduction of conciliation as the method of resolution of disputes to be undertaken at the discretion of the Nyaya Panchayat. The Committee also drew up a formal bill to give effect to its recommendation called the Nyaya Panchayats Bill, 1962.

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