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Report No. 114

5.7. People's participation in the administration of justice.-

Settlement of disputes arising in a locality by a body of laymen of the locality is almost universally recognised. Number of such institutions all over the world may be briefly noticed to substantiate this statement1. The institution of Justice of the Peace in England and United States of America, 'People's Court' in USSR and, with minor variations in all Eastern European countries manned by Lay, Justices, all entail people's participation in the administration of justice. Yugoslavia is making an attempt in the direction of setting-up exclusively lay tribunals more or less based on the ideology similar to that underlying our Indian Panchayats.2 So is the remarkable experience of Hungary in the System of People's Assessors.3 popular assessors, mediation committee, the district committee, the resident's committee as devised in China provide for people's participation.

There are similar institution in Lusaka, Burma and Sri Lanka. The concept of lay participation in judicial decision-making made its appearance centuries back and it began with the appearance of a "third party" who establishes the ransom following the Periods of self judgment or blood feud.4 Mediation model for settling disputed issues developed when and where the third party intervening in the dispute had sufficient prestige and power to enforce decision,5 ransom indicated state intervention, private injury became public injury which assisted the process under which passing judgement became a state function6. In some form or the other, lay local participation in the mode and method of resolution of disputes was always in existence.

1. The Institution of 'Justice of the Peace' in U.K. dealing with the greater part of criminal jurisdiction and a small but not unimportant part of civil jurisdiction 'is the wonder of all foreigners, for nothing like it exists in any other part of the world'. With few exceptions, this institution has worked quite satisfactorily and it is quite cheap; C.K. Allen The Queen's Peace, The Hamlyan Lectures (Fifth Series, 1953), p. 178.

2. Report of the Study Team on Nyaya Panchayat, Government of India, Ministry of Law, (April 1962), Ch. HI, para. 16, p. 29.

3. See Kalman Kulscar People's Assessors in the Courts: A study on the Sociology of the Law, (1982).

4. Ibid., p. 17.

5. Ibid., p. 19.

6. Ibid., p. 18.

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