THE GRAM NYAYALAYAS ACT, 2008
[Act No. 4 of 2009]
[7th January, 2009]
An Act to provide for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the grass roots level for the purposes of providing access to justice to the citizens at their doorsteps and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of social, economic or other disabilities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-ninth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--
Section 1. Short title, extend and commencement
(1) This Act may be called the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the State of Nagaland, the State of Arunachal Pradesh, the State of Sikkim and to the tribal areas.
Explanation.--In this sub-section, the expression "tribal areas" means the areas specified in Parts I, II, IIA and III of the Table below paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution within the State of Assam, the State of Meghalaya, the State of Tripura and the State of Mizoram, respectively.
(3) It shall come into force on such date1 as the Central Government may, by notification published in the Official Gazette, appoint; and different dates may be appointed for different States.
|1. The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 to be effective from 2nd October, 2009 vide Notification No. S.O. 2313(E) Dated 11.09.2009.|
Section 2. Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) "Gram Nyayalaya" means a court established under sub-section (1) of section 3;
(b) "Gram Panchayat" means an institution (by whatever name called) of self-government constituted, at the village level, under article 243B of the Constitution, for the rural areas;
(c) "High Court" means --
(i) in relation to any State, the High Court for that State;
(ii) in relation to a Union territory to which the jurisdiction of the High Court for a State has been extended by law, that High Court;
(iii) in relation to any other Union territory, the highest Court of criminal appeal for that territory other than the Supreme Court of India;
(d) "notification" means a notification published in the Official Gazette and the expression "notified" shall be construed accordingly;
(e) "Nyayadhikari" means the presiding officer of a Gram Nyayalaya appointed under section 5;
(f) "Panchayat at intermediate level" means an institution (by whatever name called) of self-government constituted, at the intermediate level, under article 243B of the Constitution, for the rural areas in accordance with the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution;
(g) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(h) "Schedule" means the Schedule appended to this Act;
(i) "State Government", in relation to a Union territory, means the administrator thereof appointed under article 239 of the Constitution;
(j) words and expressions used herein and not defined but defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in those Codes.
Section 3. Establishment of Gram Nayayalayas
(1) For the purpose of exercising the jurisdiction and powers conferred on a Gram Nyayalaya by this Act, the State Government, after consultation with the High Court, may, by notification, establish one or more Gram Nyayalayas for every Panchayat at intermediate level or a group of contiguous Panchayats at intermediate level in a district or where there is no Panchayat at intermediate level in any State, for a group of contiguous Gram Panchayats.
(2) The State Government shall, after consultation with the High Court, specify, by notification, the local limits of the area to which the jurisdiction of a Gram Nyayalaya shall extend and may, at any time, increase, reduce or alter such limits.
(3) The Gram Nyayalayas established under sub-section (1) shall be in addition to the courts established under any other law for the time being in force.
Section 4. Headquaters of Gram Nyayalaya
The headquarters of every Gram Nyayalaya shall be located at the headquarters of the intermediate Panchayat in which the Gram Nyayalaya is established or such other place as may be notified by the State Government.
Section 5. Appointment of Nyayadhikari
The State Government shall, in consultation with the High Court, appoint a Nyayadhikari for every Gram Nyayalaya.
Section 6. Qualification for appointment of Nyayadhikari
(1) A person shall not be qualified to be appointed as a Nyayadhikari unless he is eligible to be appointed as a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
(2) While appointing a Nyayadhikari, representation shall be given to the members of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, women and such other classes or communities as may be specified by notification, by the State Government from time to time.
Section 7. Salary allowances and other terms and conditions of service of Nyayadhikari
The salary and other allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service of, a Nyayadhikari shall be such as may be applicable to the Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
Section 8. Nyayadhikari not to preside over proceedings in which he is interested
The Nyayadhikari shall not preside over the proceedings of a Gram Nyayalaya in which he has any interest or is otherwise involved in the subject matter of the dispute or is related to any party to such proceedings and in such a case, the Nyayadhikari shall refer the matter to the District Court or the Court of Session, as the case may be, for transferring it to any other Nyayadhikari.
Section 9. Nyayadhikari to hold mobile courts and conduct proceeding in villages
(1) The Nyayadhikari shall periodically visit the villages falling under his jurisdiction and conduct trial or proceedings at any place which he considers is in close proximity to the place where the parties ordinarily reside or where the whole or part of the cause of action had arisen:
Provided that where the Gram Nyayalaya decides to hold mobile court outside its headquarters, it shall give wide publicity as to the date and place where it proposes to hold mobile court.
(2) The State Government shall extend all facilities to the Gram Nyayalaya including the provision of vehicles for holding mobile court by the Nyayadhikari while conducting trial or proceedings outside its headquarters.
Section 10. Seal of Gram Nyayalaya
Every Gram Nyayalaya established under this Act shall use a seal of the court in such form and dimensions as may be prescribed by the High Court with the approval of the State Government.
Section 11. Jurisdiction of Gram Nyayalaya
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(2 of 1974) or the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908(5 of 1908) or any other law for the time being in force, the Gram Nyayalaya shall exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction in the manner and to the extent provided under this Act.