As many as 30 Gram Nyayalayas will be set up in the State to dispense justice to citizens at the grassroots level.

The government has issued a notification to establish the village courts, conceived as the lowest tier in the subordinate judiciary, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Winding up the debate on the Kerala Civil Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2012 in the House, he said the Gram Nyayalayas would help to reduce the pendency of cases in subordinate courts. The Panchayat Department had been asked to identify land for the new courts.

Mr. Chandy said 38 fast-track courts had been made permanent and two more special courts to handle cases of atrocities against women would be set up in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode to supplement the one in Ernakulam. “To reduce the backlog of cases, the government has embarked on computerisation of courts and trial through videoconferencing. We will need to set up new courts, enhance infrastructure, provide more staff, and appoint more judges.”

Mr. Chandy said 27 new judicial magistrate courts had been sanctioned. Responding to allegations of judicial activism raised by legislators during the debate on the Bill, he stressed the need for the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary to avoid confrontation and infringement of powers.

He said the government was trying to work out a solution to the impasse on the establishment of a High Court Bench in Thiruvananthapuram.

“The only hurdle to the proposal is the failure to get the concurrence of the High Court Full Bench. We are trying to overcome this obstacle.”

During the debate on the Bill, members raised the demand for a judicial commission for appointment of judges and investigation of corruption cases involving judicial officers.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (CPI-M) said the poor judicial infrastructure in Kerala had led to a huge pendency of cases. “Vacancies of judges and employees are not filled in time and appointment of prosecutors is pending. Courts lack basic facilities.” Mr. Balakrishnan said the practice of judicial appointments by a collegium of judges left much to be desired.

The Bill was passed unanimously.

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