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Report No. 114

6.7. Non-application of certain laws.-

The root cause of the present malaise in disposal of cases in court as at present functioning have been often attributed to long, complex, unending procedures prescribed both in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, for disposal of civil and criminal cases. Whosoever one may try, it has been found impossible to extricate oneself from stages prescribed in the procedural laws. A cliche has come into existence that before one can hope to get substantial justice he should be able to procure processual justice. There is enough direct evidence on the subject that the court accords more time and spends more energy in disposing of larger number of processual issues than issues involving disposal of substantial dispute. Innumerable decisions of the High Courts and the Supreme Court are on the question of interpretation of the provision of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Limitation Act of 1963 have made no small contribution to the present confusing and confounding situation. The warp and woof of procedural laws are so intertwined as to make progress in the course of resolution of a dispute, almost impossible. Certain procedural orders are amenable to appellate jurisdiction (See Order XLIII, CPC). Where there is no provision for appeal, section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure is resorted to. As if this does not set up sufficient insurmountable road blocks in the pilgrims' progress towards resolution of disputes, the interpretation of Article 227 of the Constitution has further accentuated the situation.

The nature of the disputes which would be coming before the Gram Nyayalaya are, more or less, likely to be simple, uncomplicated, easy of solution and should not be enmeshed in procedural claptrap. If Gram Nyayalaya is to resolve the dispute about the passage to or discharge of water from a field from a nearby irrigation channel, following the prescribed procedure at every stage in the Code of Civil Procedure would have disastrous results. Rain God is not subject to court's jurisdiction and is not likely to obey any injunction. Weather is equally unamenable to court's jurisdiction. Now without urgent relief crops cannot be raised in a field, apart from personal loss, it is a national loss.

To resolve such a dispute, putting on shelf the Code of Civil Procedure, if the Gram Nyayalaya assembles at or near the field to which passage for water is in dispute, it can be resolved within a couple of hours and that too more satisfactorily. This satisfying result can be achieved without the assistance of the Code of Civil Procedure. Examination and cross-examination of witnesses, objections as to the relevancy, form of question, leading questions, sections 91 and 92 of the Evidence Act, all may have to be kept aside for resolving such a simple dispute In the past, all those who have advocated either retention of Nyaya Panchayat or expansion of its jurisdiction or a different forum permitting participatory justice are agreed that this forum should be kept free from the tentacles of Code of Civil Procedure. It is recommended that neither the Code of Civil Procedure nor the Evidence Act should apply to the proceedings before Gram Nyayalaya.

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