Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Aug. 18: The Kohima Circuit Bench of the Guwahati High Court, established in 1972, has been upgraded into a permanent bench and the proposal for a separate High Court for Nagaland has been taken up at the ‘appropriate level for early implementation,’ according to the Justice and Law department’s annual administrative report for 2018-19.
The department is acting as the implementing authority for the project of constructing a main High Court building and has been receiving financial assistance (negotiated loan) from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), it stated.
The construction began in 2012 at an estimated cost of INR 43,75,46,000 out of which INR 26,69,00,000 has been utilised for the construction of the building, according to the report.
Although construction of the main complex is in progress, it is not ‘up to the mark due to fund constraints.’
The report stated that the project is neither funded nor receiving any central assistance but is solely dependent on the state government for funds. The project has been receiving fund from the state government every financial year, though at a slow pace.
The progress of work, it stated, was only 60% which means that another four years will be needed to complete the project, if the same rate of financial assistance from the state government continues.
According to the department, there could be cost escalation of 7.5% annually if the project is continued for another four years. As such, it requested the state government to release the remaining amount of INR 17,06,46,000 during the current financial year from any source to avoid any more cost escalation.
Separation of Judiciary from Executive
In line with the direction of the Supreme Court of India, the Nagaland Judicial Services were brought under the superintendence and control of the Guwahati High Court since 1997, but complete separation was not fully implemented, it stated.
‘Therefore this will be affected once infrastructure and manpower development constraints are overcome, and the state government takes the decision to affect complete separation of Judiciary from the Executive,’ it maintained.
The state has only two family courts, established in Kohima and Dimapur with the objective of catering to legal needs of the people and settling issues related to matrimonial disputes. The report stated that family courts need to be established in all the districts and sub-divisional centres so as to enable citizens to avail such facilities for resolving their family problems without obstacles. The department, it stated, plans to set up district family courts in phase-wise manner before 2030.
The department also plans to set up a state-level Law library at the New Secretariat Complex with the latest Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other amenities for the welfare of the government functionaries of the state.
National Lok Adalats
The report mentioned that in 2018, Nagaland State Legal Service Authority (NSLSA) held five National Lok Adalats across the state, which constituted 47 Lok Adalat benches.
“The National Lok Adalat, through conciliatory and pervasive efforts, could take up a total of 2003 cases for settlement and disposed off a total of 1044 cases before the jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat benches. The total settlement amount involved in the disposed cases amounting of INR 3,43,93,010,” the report stated.
Cases taken up and dealt at the Lok Adalat includes ‘bank recovery; NI Act cases under section 138; criminal compoundable cases; public utility disputes and Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) cases.’
Compensation to victim of crimes
Under the Nagaland Victim Compensation Scheme of 2012, the state government, it stated, earmarks a separate budget for the purpose of the scheme every financial year and the fund for the scheme is operated by the Home department (under Relief and Rehabilitation branch).
Any victim who has suffered loss or injury as a result of a crime and requires rehabilitation is eligible for the grant of compensation provided the victim or claimant lodge FIR or report the crime to the judicial magistrate.
As per the provisions of the law, legal service institutions in the state hold the responsibility to examine and verify the content of the claim, other relevant information determining the amount of compensation to be awarded, and disbursing the awarded compensation to the victim or the dependent.
The report maintained that in 2012, 32 applicants for claiming victim compensation under the scheme were received by the NSLSA, and 22 were awarded compensation amounting to INR 33,65,000.
Policy/programme for 2019-20
The report stated the following objectives for 2019-20: to set up two additional courts in the sub-divisional level in Tuli and Pfutsero at an estimated cost of INR 5 crore each; construction of district court complex in Tuensang and Mon at the cost of INR 14 crore; construction of special court complex for vigilance commission at the cost of INR 2.50 crore; district court complex and judicial residential quarter in Noklak to be taken up during the current financial year; completion of the main High Court at the cost of INR 43.75 crore and judges’ bungalow at the cost of INR 12.85 crore during the financial year; panel of advocates’ building at the cost of INR 2.50 crore at High Court premises; and ongoing construction of multi-complex/High Court guesthouse in Kohima at the cost of INR 2.50 crore.