Stage set to establish 4125 Panchayati Adalats in J&K

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Sept 21: More than a year after Panchayats were put in place, the State Government is in the final stage of setting up of 4125 Panchayati Adalats and formal notifications in this regard are likely to be issued shortly by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. These Adalats would play a vital role in speedy disposal of different cases and disputes at the doorsteps of the people.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the exercise for setting up of Panchayati Adalats, which was set in motion some months after the putting in place of Panchayats across the State, is all set to be completed shortly as the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has almost completed the short-listing of judicial panels received from the Panchayats.
“The setting up of Panchayati Adalats, which is one of the vital component of the Panchayati Raj system, got delayed mainly because of groupism and lack of consensus among the Panchs and Sarpanchs over the finalization of judicial panels”, sources said, adding “after hectic efforts through the Block Development Officers (BDOs), the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has succeeded in removing differences among the Panchs and Sarpanchs in large number of Panchayats”.
Stating that disputes over judicial panels of some Panchayats were still prevailing, sources said, “the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has now decided not to allow the entire process of setting up of Panchayati Adalats being held hostage by such disputes and is going ahead with setting up of Adalats in those Panchayats where there is consensus over the judicial panels”.
As per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, each and every Panchayat is required to prepare and recommend judicial panel of seven members out of its electorate to the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department, which has the discretionary powers to shortlist five names from each panel strictly as per the parameters laid down under the Panchayati Raj Act.
Thereafter, the notification is issued nominating five short-listed names as members of the Panchayati Adalat. The powers to nominate one of the five members as Chairman of the Panchayati Adalat vest with the respective Panchayats.
When contacted, Director Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department, Jammu, Shafiq Ahmed confirmed that short-listing of panels of those Panchayats where there is no dispute over the names recommended to the Department, has been completed and very shortly notification will be issued. “The number of Panchayats which lack consensus over the judicial panels is not much and we will leave them till such Panchayats come up with only one judicial panel after sorting out differences”, he added.
“The setting up of Panchayati Adalats has already been delayed and Government has decided to establish them without wasting further time”, he added.
His counterpart in Kashmir valley, Mir Altaf said, “baring one or two Panchayats there is no dispute over the judicial panels and we are in the final stage of short-listing the same”, adding “the Panchs and Sarpanchs are being educated through the Block Development Officers about the benefit of setting up of such Adalats. They have also been asked to nominate Chairman of the Adalats soon after the Department issues notification of the selected Panchayati Adalat members”.
About the cause behind lack of consensus on the judicial panels, sources said, “since Panchayati Adalats are vested with certain powers under the Panchayati Raj Act, every body wants his or her name recommended in the panel”.

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