Alternative justice takes roots in Himachal



Solan: With a heavy backlog of cases almost trampling the Indian legal system, a small initiative in introducing alternative justice disposal mechanism has shown people in the Solan district a new ray of hope.
In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, an non-governmental organization has been entrusted with mediating in resolving cases of marital discord under the Hindu Marriage Act. On the direction of the National Women Commission, the State legal Commission has entrusted Kandaghat Samagram Vikas Samit to take over 89 such cases earlier pending in six district courts.
Considering that lakhs of cases under the Hindu Marriage Act have been pending in courts across the country for years, the National Women Commission had written to all states to consider delegating these cases to NGOs working in the field to clear the backlog.
Starting with Lok Adalats, various modes of alternative justice disposal mechanisms are being tried out across the country to free the judiciary from the shackles of work load. The neighboring Punjab and Haryana High Court has been a frontrunner in this initiative experimenting with mobile justice vans and now ‘SMS a request’. However, involving people not directly involved in the legal process appears to a revolutionary idea, but there is great amount of uncertainty regarding its success.
While director of Kandaghat Samagram Vikas Samiti JL Tomer claimed their organization had already been involved in mediating in marital disputes since 2000, lawyers in the area argue that cases decided through this mode may again end up in courts. To this argument, people working in the field claim that the organizational setups can be backed by legal experts, and added to it they can also provide post-dispute counseling.
The success of the initiative can only be judged once the mechanism is put to practice on a wider scale, and therefore now it is important that more organizations come forward to take up the responsibility.

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