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Report No. 14

51. Conclusions.-

We now set out our conclusions under this head as follows:-

(1) Panchayat courts are capable of doing a good deal of useful work by relieving the regular courts of petty civil litigation and criminal cases of the simpler type.

(2) The panchayats are in a position to dispose of simple cases more cheaply and expeditiously and with less inconvenience to all concerned than ordinary courts.

(3) An effort should be made to establish and popularise panchayat courts in States where they are not firmly established.

(4) Wherever possible, a panchayat court should be constituted for a group of villages situated in a nearby area.

(5) Nyaya panchas should be nominated by a suitable authority out of those elected panchas who possess certain prescribed qualifications like literacy.

(6) In order to provide continuity the terms of office of Nyaya panchas should be staggered.

(7) Nyaya panchas should be given training before they are allowed to exercise judicial functions.

(8) To get over the difficulty caused by the existence of factions, the panchas deciding a case might be required to belong to a neighbouring village, or each party to a dispute may be allowed to select his pancha.

(9) The jurisdiction of panchayat courts should be exclusive.

(10) Nature of cases (civil) and the list of offences (criminal) triable by these courts are set out at length in the various State enactments and do not call for any enlargement.

(11) The upper limit of the civil jurisdiction of panchayats should be Rs. 200 or Rs. 250. In special cases with the approval of the High Court their jurisdiction may be increased to Rs. 500.

(12) The criminal jurisdiction of panchayat courts should be limited to inflicting a fine of Rs. 50. They should not have the power to award sentences of imprisonment either 'substantively or in default of payment of fine or to bind over parties to keep the peace. Cases in which such action is necessary should be made over to the regular courts.

(13) The court fee, if any, levied by the panchayat courts should be nominal.

(14) Panchayat courts should not be bound by procedural codes or by the law of evidence.

(15) Panchayat courts should wherever possible seek to effect an amicable settlement between the parties.

(16) Legal practitioners should not be permitted to appear in these courts.

(17) A revision should lie from the decisions of the panchayat courts in civil and criminal matters to the Munsif or Sub-Divisional Magistrate, who should be empowered to transfer a case from one panchayat court to another or to the regular court for trial.

(18) The power of revision should not be given to the District Judge nor should a right of appeal to a larger panchayat be allowed.

(19) The District Judge should be empowered to direct the removal of panchas if he is satisfied upon a report that the pancha in question has been guilty of misconduct in the discharge of his judicial functions. There should be a provision for an appeal against such order of removal.

(20) Panchayat courts should be empowered to distrain or seize movable property in execution of their decrees and to send them if necessary to the Collector for execution.

(21) A special officer or special officers should be appointed for the purpose of imparting training to panchas and to supervise the administration of panchayat courts.

(22) More detailed information should be collected and published regarding the working of the panchayat courts.

Reform of Judicial Administration Back

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