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SC seeks reply from HCs on plea for 'Gram Nyayalayas'

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New Delhi, Nov 14: The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from all high courts on a 2019 plea seeking a direction to the Centre and all states for taking steps to set up 'Gram Nyayalayas’ under the supervision of the top court.

A bench of Justices S A Nazeer and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the registrar general of all high courts and made them parties in the case. The top court said the high courts should be made party as they are the supervisory authority.

SC seeks reply from HCs on plea for Gram Nyayalayas

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner NGO National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and others, submitted before the bench that despite a direction from the top court in 2020, many states have yet not taken any action.

These 'Gram Nyayalayas’ should be such that people may be able to articulate their grievances without the need of lawyer, Bhushan said. The matter is now posted for next hearing on December 5.

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The apex court in 2020 had directed the states, which are yet to come out with notifications for establishing 'Gram Nyayalayas’, to do so within four weeks, and asked the high courts to expedite the process of consultation with state governments on this issue.

An Act passed by Parliament in 2008 provided for the setting up of 'Gram Nyayalayas’ at the grassroots level for providing access to justice to citizens at the doorstep and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to anyone by reason of social, economic or other disabilities.

The plea had said that sections 5 and 6 of the 2008 Act provide that state government in consultation with the high court will appoint a 'Nyayadhikari’ for each 'Gram Nyayalaya’, who will be a person eligible to be appointed as a judicial magistrate of the First Class.

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