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Nagar Adalat is of no effect under politicised corrupt system

12 October 2020


A DISTINGUISHED fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said it has become the need of the hour to establish 'Nagar Adalats' in city corporations to help settle minor disputes across the country. He made the remarks while presiding over a virtual discussion titled "Nagar Adalat Act: Proposed Outline and Possibility of Implementation" on Saturday.
The fellow added that the people are more interested in resolving minor disputes at the local level due to the lengthy process, harassment and expenses associated with settling cases in existing courts. There are village courts that help people at the union-level to settle minor disputes, and for the municipality areas, there are the municipal courts. These courts allow people at union parishad and municipality levels to settle their disputes locally without going to a court, and thus save them from harassment and expenses. But, there is no such law for nearly two crore people living in 12 city corporations across the country. So, these people have to go to the courts to settle their minor disputes.
OF course the main problem with the setting up of courts has never been the law but rather the implementation of the law. Village courts are formed by the union chairmen and members of the local Wards. Therefore, such courts sometimes fall under political or individual influence. Judicial officers should be appointed as judges to Nagar Adalats to curb similar issues --- but since our legal system is somewhat dysfunctional anyway, would it really make a difference?
Our main problems are that members of the executive branch---the police and others, often take it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. The root cause for the enforced disappearances and the extrajudicial killings remain the ability of the police to act with impunity. It is only very recently that three police officers were given a verdict of life imprisonment under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013 for the torture and death of an innocent man.
So obviously we have world class laws ---- we just need them to be better implemented. The people who make the charge sheet, the investigating officers --- they are all police officials. Due to political or financial influence they can be become motivated to bring about an adverse outcome --- even for an innocent man. This situation must change. The sad reality is that making more courts will only facilitate further levels of corruption.

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