Centre may set up village courts: Kerala HC CJ

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Kochi, Mar 2 (UNI) The Centre is seriously considering setting up of 'gram nyayalays' or village courts to speed up dispensation of justice at the grassroots level, Kerala High Court Chief Justice H L Dattu said today.

Delivering the presidential address at the valedictory session of the three-day 'Southern Region Workshop on Techniques and Tools for Enhancing Timely Justice' here, Justice Dattu said village courts and special courts were the need of the hour to clear up the backlog of cases.

Stressing the importance of Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanisms, the Chief Justice said that at the filing stage itself a screening process should be introduced so that wherever possible, the disputes were settled out-of-court and only those needing the scrutiny of courts go up for trial.

Suggesting that there should be a specific time-limit for disposal of cases, the Chief Justice urged the judicial officers not to grant adjournments as a matter of routine.

Delivering the valedictory address, former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Justice V S Maliamath, echoed the sentiments expressed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan at the workshop last evening, blaming the executive for the increased number of cases landing in courts.

Criticising the executive for not implementing the Supreme Court's suggestion to increase by five times the number of judicial officers, considering the work load, Justice Maliamath said ''this is evidence of the executive's bad governance.'' Asserting that the judiciary had stood its ground, the former Chief Justice said character, honesty and efficiency should be the hallmarks of the judicial officers' working.

''To be able to dispense justice is a divine function and that alone should be the guiding force for the judicial officers,'' he added.

Others present at the function, included the Chief Justices of the Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir High Courts and the Director of the National Judicial Academy.

Altogether ten sessions were held during the workshop, attended by judicial officers from the southern states.

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