Six more village courts in the offing

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to dispense legal aid to village folks at their doorsteps, six more additional village courts (Gram Nyayalaya) will be set up across the state.

A proposal in this regard was made after a review meeting held here.

This initiative by the state government is expected to deliver justice to poor people in cost-effective manner and would reduce pendency of cases.

Now, the six village courts—Dhamra (Bhadrak), Komna (Nuapada), Tangi (Cuttack), Raighar (Nabrangpur), Odagaon (Nayagarh) and Atabira (Bargarh) — will come up in the state.

The village courts would adjudicate both civil and criminal cases of people living in their respective areas. As per the Gram Nyayalaya Act, 2008, Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) would deliver judgement in village courts.

For this, the state government has written to the High Court on recruitment of these judges in the village courts.

“At present, one village court is functional in Puri. We have made budgetary provisions for seven more such courts. We have written to HC for the appointment of judges,” state Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said.

It may be mentioned here that the first such court was set up in Puri Sadar block on October 2, 2009. However, the legal fraternity claims that the objective of the village court is yet to be attained.

“There is inadequate staff and no proper transport facilities which pose as a hindrance to serve summons. The purpose of the court was to dispose off cases locally. Instead of people coming here to Puri, it should have been the other way around,” senior lawyer Rabindra Routray said.