Bringing Justice Swiftly

For the People | Justice | Insight Success

It is said, “Justice delayed is Justice Denied”. An efficient judiciary is characterised by how quickly and correctly it brings justice to the needy. To reduce the number of pending cases and the turn—around time for general cases, the Indian Judiciary has taken some very effective measures. Fast-track Courts, Nyaya Mitra Scheme, and Gram Nyayalaya are three such steps taken for the welfare of the general public. Here’s how these schemes are working out:
Fast-track Courts – Creation of Fast Track Courts (FTCs) was recommended by the Eleventh Finance Commission in the year 2000. It aimed at creating 1734 FTCs across the country with an aim to dispose of long pending cases in the Sessions courts and under trial prisoners. To put up the mechanism in place, the central Finance Ministry released funds to the State Governments directly. The term of the scheme ended in 2005 but looking at the effectiveness of it, the scheme was granted continuity.
FTCs are established by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court. Initially, the scheme recommended establishing an average of five FTC in each district of India. The judges are appointed on an ad-hoc basis by the respective High Courts. In 2011, the Central Government decided to stop the funding for FTCs and the onus shifted on State Governments if they wanted to continue with them. While most of the State Governments continued with FTCs, few chose to shun them.
Nyaya Mitra Scheme – The Nyaya Mitra Scheme was launched in April 2017. The scheme is again aimed at reducing the bulk of pending cases across select districts with special focus on those clocking more than 10 years. The initiative has been launched in 227 districts to start with. This scheme utilizes the services of retired judicial or executive officers who are experienced and are designated as Nyaya Mitra. The responsibilities, among others, include:

  1. a) assistance to litigants facing delay in a trial;
  2. b) identifying delayed cases through the National Judicial Data Grid;
  3. c) providing legal advice and connecting litigants to District Legal Service Authority;
  4. d) refer marginalized applicants to Lok Adalats;
  5. e) and render assistance for prison reforms.

Gram Nyayalaya – The Gram Nyayalaya Act was brought and passed by the Indian Parliament in 2008. This Act looks for the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas or Village Courts to provide access to justice at the grass-root level i.e. the villages. Presided over by a Nyayadhikari, the court is generally established at headquarter of a gram panchayat. Their area of jurisdiction is marked by the State Government and includes both criminal and civil offences. They are also given the power to accept certain pieces of evidence which are in general not acceptable under the Indian Evidence Act. The objective of such courts is that no citizen should be denied justice due to social, economic or other disabilities.
The above are just a few steps that the Government and the Judiciary are taking to bring justice to all the citizens of India. The participating authorities, as well as the general public, should now make the most of these schemes and help in establishing a just society.
-Sneha Sinha

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