HC to start establishing Camp Courts in inaccessible areas from next month

Post Offices, Approved Centres to facilitate in filing of cases

More than 60 places already identified in 11 districts

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Sept 20: Finally, vast population in inaccessible areas of 11 districts of Jammu and Kashmir will start receiving justice from the judiciary at their respective doorsteps as State High Court has made up its mind to start establishing Camp Courts in such places from next month, the proposal about which was mooted early this year on the directions of the Chief Justice Gita Mittal.
Highly placed sources told EXCELSIOR that the decision about establishment of Camp Courts in different areas of the State was taken by the Chief Justice Gita Mittal on the basis of the reports received from the District Judges.
The District Judges through their respective reports revealed that several areas in Kathua, Reasi, Poonch, Ramban and Kishtwar districts of Jammu division and Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts of Kashmir division and Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh remain cut off even from the nearest courts for months together due to the vagaries of weather.
“Due to this, the people hailing from these areas remain deprived of access to justice and when judicial remedies are not available to the people located quite far away from the courts, the access to justice becomes meaningless”, sources said, adding “at present people of these areas are either compelled to wait for months or travel long distance to get legal remedies”.
Keeping all these aspects in mind, the High Court, on the instructions of the Chief Justice, devised a mechanism to provide easy access to justice to inhabitants of the inaccessible areas by setting up of Camp Courts at the centrally located convenient places.
The mechanism was to be put in place in the month of August this year but snapping of internet services on the basis of advisory issued by the security agencies created roadblock as transmitting of data electronically had to play crucial role in the entire exercise, sources said, adding “as uncertainty prevails over restoration of internet services in near future, High Court has decided not to delay establishment of Camp Courts anymore and start the exercise from the next month by utilizing the services of the Post Offices”.
It is pertinent to mention here that a trial of new mechanism has already been conducted by establishing one Camp Court at Sirshi Janakpur in Dachan area of Kishtwar district.
“The exercise to identify centrally located convenience place in each of these areas for setting up of Camp Court has already been conducted. Moreover, data vis-a-vis pending cases of these inaccessible areas is available with the High Court”, sources informed.
As per the operational framework of National Legal Services Authority (NLSA), front offices of District Level Services Authority have to function as collection centres where litigants can submit their appeals, petitions, replies and responses to be filed in the High Court. However, in Jammu and Kashmir there are certain areas which remain inaccessible for months together from District Headquarters as also from the Tehsil Headquarters.
“In most of these areas no courts are located and as such no offices of Legal Services Authorities are available and it is impossible for the people living in these areas to physically come to the District Headquarter for presenting their petitions before the front office of District Legal Services Authority”, sources said.
They disclosed that in order to provide access to justice to the people living in such areas, High Court has already prepared Rules governing the filing of cases in the district/subordinate courts (civil/criminal) and the High Court by the persons residing in remote areas of the State.
“A party residing in a remote area desirous of filing a case before a Judicial Magistrate may file the same before the nearest Approved Centre operated by the Government of India/State Government and approved by the High Court or the nearest Post Office established by the Department of Post in collaboration with the J&K Legal Services Authority”, sources said
A Para Legal Volunteer/ Panel Lawyer duly appointed by any Legal Services Institution attached to the concerned Approved Centre will assist the party in drafting/filing of the case(s) at the designated Approved Centre. In the event of filing of the case before the Post Office, the Post Master concerned shall maintain the entire record of filing of the cases both in soft form as well as in registers specially maintained for the purpose.
“When the appeal/petition/ complaint is physically transmitted to the court of competent jurisdiction, the Post Master shall levy the charges of a registered letter from the sender”, sources said.
They further said, “all the cases pertaining to the remote areas and filed under this mechanism will be separately shown in the daily cause list and the courts shall dispose of such matters on priority basis”, adding “even weekly reports pertaining to the progress of such cases will be submitted by the concerned Judicial Officer to the High Court”.
The inaccessible areas which have been brought under the ambit of mechanism are Marwah, Warwan and Padder in Kishtwar district; Gulabgarh belt in Reasi district; Barmota, Doulka, Roulka, Bhandar, Sandroon, Sandhi, Dhaggar, Dhaman, Bhakoga, Koti and Banjal in Kathua district; Marah, Dogrian and Poshana in Poonch district; Kangan belt in Ganderbal district; Shagan, Mahoo, Mangat, Trigam, Dhanmasta, Neel Bohardar, Pogal and Bingara in Ramban district; Upper Uri belt, Upper Rafiabad belt (Dangiwacha) in Baramulla district; Seryul Nyoma, Turtuk, Panamik, Lingshed and Skurbuchan in Leh district; Testa, Cha, Itcha, Rarumonay, Shunshaday, Kargiak, Ralakung, Itchoo and Yujjuk in Kargil district; Teetwal, Machil, Keran, Jumgund and Badnambal in Kupwara district and Gurez, Tulail, Aragam, Gujarpati, Chatti Bandi Chanapal, Groori, Hajin, Challiwan, Budiyar, Attawatu, Pawar, Taughat, Wavan and Chhandaji in Bandipora district.