Local judicial committees adopting 'Panchayat-era' approach

Published On: October 10, 2018 06:57 AM NPT By: Mithilesh Yadav

LAHAN, Oct 10: In the absence of expert manpower and the lack of procedural knowledge and guidance, the local judicial committees have adopted a traditional approach for justice delivery through the local units. 

Most of the local units have been settling cases through 'discussions' between the two sides, instead of conducting hearings. “We have not appointed legal advisors because the budget for the judicial committee is yet to be allocated. In the absence of procedural knowledge and expert manpower, I am compelled to settle cases through discussion between the two sides,” said deputy chief of Naraha Rural Municipality, Gulab Devi, who is the coordinator of the rural municipality's judicial committee. 

According to her, the local unit has settled 10 of the total 50 cases registered so far, through discussions instead of conducting hearings on the cases. The new constitution has entrusted the local units with judicial authority as well but locals say their justice delivery approach is similar to the Panchayat era. 

Deputy chief of Bariyapatti Rural Municipality, Rekha Yadav said that she has been settling the cases registered at the local unit without following any standard procedures in the absence of knowledge. “I don't have the procedural knowledge about justice delivery, a small training is not enough for the task,” she added, complaining of not having expert manpower at the office. 

Most of the deputy chiefs of local units, who head the judicial committee, have complained of being compelled to settle cases through the 'traditional' approach because of the lack of legal and procedural knowledge as well as experience. Out of the 17 local units in Siraha district, only two municipalities have been following the legal procedural approach. The remaining local units are yet to appoint legal advisors to assist the judicial committee. The judicial committee is yet to be formed at Bhagawanpur Rural Municipality and deputy chief of Aurahi Rural Municipality has protested against the committee formed by the local unit's head unilaterally. 

Office bearers of most judicial committees have complained of difficulties in handling the cases because of not having legal knowledge about justice delivery procedures for settling cases. Sakhuwankar Katti Rural Municipality deputy chief Alam Devi said that she forwards cases to the police if both sides don't reach an understanding through discussions, because she doesn't know about settling cases through the hearing process.

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