Village Courts Not Established Despite Legislation Unfair: HC   

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SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has termed ‘very unfair and unreasonable” on part of the Government not to establish village courts at grass root level despite passing of legislation four years ago.

Hearing a public Interest Litigation, a division bench headed by chief justice said it was very unfortunate that despite the legislation in place, the Government has failed to establishment Dehi Adaalats in the state.

The court said time and again the government only seeks time about the steps taken so far to implement the  Jammu and Kashmir Dehi Adalats Act, 2013.

Chief Secretary of the State, Commissioner/Secretary (GAD),  Commissioner/Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs are already under direction to file the status report before the court on the issue but till date all have failed to do so.

The Court observed that such a critical issue has been shelved by the government despite repeated directions from the court which is “very unfair, unreasonable and irresponsible act” on part ofthe Government. 

The court after great persuasion by of state counsel granted further time to Government for response with warning that in case response was not filed, court will proceed ahead with appropriate orders.

The purpose of establishing Dehi Adalats is to provide access to Justice to the Citizens at their doorsteps and also for ensuring that Justice cannot be denied to any Citizen by reason of Social, Economic or other disabilities as enshrined in the Preamble and under Article 39(A) and 14 of the Constitution.

The petitioner said that Dehi Adalat Act, 2013 has been published in Government Gazette on 24th October 2013, and has come into force on 03-09-2014 by virtue of SRO 274 of 2014. 

To the unfortunate affairs and the inaction of the state authorities near about four years have passed since coming into force of the said Act, till date the respondents have failed to implement the said Act, the petitioner said.

“The Government by SRO 275 OF 2014 has already issued notification for the establishment of 22 Dehi Adalats in 22 Districts of the State, but no process has been initiated thereof to make Dehi Adalats functional in the State. The Legislature intended to bring the pillars of Justice at the door steps of its Citizens by passing the said Legislation, the said Legislation has a Magna-carta (fundamental rights) effect in opening doors of Justice to Citizens who are not able to secure Justice by reason of Social, Economic or other disabilities as enshrined in the Preamble and under Article 39(A) and 14 of the Constitution but the inaction of the Respondents has stopped the objective of the Legislature to provide Justice at grass root level to its Citizens by way of the said Act,” the petitioner states.

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