Delay in setting up of Gram Nyayalayas (village courts), the Supreme Court bench headed by bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the state governments of Assam, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, and West Bengal for not filing their responses in the court.
The states and the union territories had failed in setting up the gram nyayalaya as per the act passed by Parliament to ensure access to justice for the poor population in rural areas. The court had directed them to notify to set up village courts within a month. “Some states have not taken the initiative. No notification has been issued in this regard. Four weeks’ time was given to the states to notify the establishment of Gram Nyayalayas,” the court observed.
The court had issued a notice to the Centre, States and UTs on PIL filed by NGOs National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and Society for Fast Justice.PIL also stated that only 208 Gram Nyayalayas are functioning in India against the 2,500 estimated to be required by the 12th five-year plan. Adding further, the PIL also stated that only 11 states have so far taken steps to notify Gram Nyayalayas.
Rights provided to citizens i.e. constitutional right of rural citizens to access to justice under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008?
Gram Nyayalayas were established for speedy and easy access to the justice system in the rural areas across the country. They are aimed at providing inexpensive justice to people in rural areas at their doorsteps. The Act came into force on October 2, 2009.