16 alternative dispute resolution centres; courts in 30 block panchayats
Law Minister K.M. Mani has called for disposal of cases at source through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms to bring down the pendency of cases in courts and ensure that the State is litigation-free.
He was inaugurating a public meeting held in connection with a number of programmes, including the laying of the foundation stone of the second ADR centre in the State, at the District Court complex in Vanchiyoor here on Saturday.
Mr. Mani said more than individual litigation, society itself was increasingly becoming the aggrieved party owing to the rise in the number of social crimes, including cyber crimes.
The Cabinet had decided earlier this week to recommend the promulgation of two ordinances, one to protect the deposits of people in non-banking financial institutions and the other, to prevent fleecing of the public by moneylenders charging exorbitantly high interest rates. These were expected to curb the number of such cases.
Sixteen ADR centres had been sanctioned across the State, as recommended by the High Court, he said. Village-level courts were being set up in 30 block panchayats.
High Court judge C.N. Ramachandran Nair, who laid the foundation stone for the ADR Centre, said the system of free legal advice was yet to gain acceptance among the public, with many having the wrong notion that such legal assistance was substandard. It was up to lawyers to change that impression. Lawyers had a major role to play in settling cases, and reducing the number of petty cases that ended up in courts, in turn increasing the overall pendency. Lawyers would not have to worry about cases drying up since more and more cases would keep coming, he said in a lighter vein.
Pius C. Kuriakose, High Court judge and judge in-charge of Thiruvananthapuram district; C.K. Abdul Rehim, High Court judge; Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Deputy Leader of the Opposition; B. Sudheendra Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram District Judge; P. Mohandas, State Legal Services Authority member secretary; and K.P. Jayachandran, District Bar Association president, spoke.