Culture of India Governance

Nari Adalat: Courts for Women Only

  • The government is beginning the ‘Nari Adalat’ plan, which would establish women-only tribunals at the local level.
  • Nari Adalat’s mission is to give an alternative conflict resolution forum for topics including domestic violence, property rights, and opposing patriarchal norms.
  • The pilot programme will begin in 50 villages in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, with intentions to expand nationwide over the next six months.

Structure and operation 

  • Each Nari Adalat will have 7-9 members, half of whom will be elected gram panchayat members and the other half would be women of social standing such as teachers, doctors, and social workers.
  • Objectives: It will handle individual issues, increase awareness about social programmes, collect feedback, educate people about their legal rights, and resolve cases that fall under its jurisdiction.
  • Services Offered: For accessible and cheap justice, the platform will provide alternative conflict resolution, grievance redressal, counselling, evidence-based decision making, pressure group tactics, negotiation, mediation, and reconciliation.

Ministry-in-Charge of execution and Collaboration

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will oversee the scheme’s execution under the Sambal sub-scheme of Mission Shakti, which is committed to women’s safety, security, and empowerment.
  • Collaboration Efforts: The Common Service Centres of the Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, and Electronics and Information Technology will work together to implement the scheme.
  • SOPs stand for Standard Operating Procedures. To ensure the uniformity and effective operation of Nari Adalats, detailed protocols for all states have been drafted and will be issued.

The concept’s inception

  • Previous Initiatives: The scheme is modelled after the National Commission for Women’s (NCW) Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats (People’s Courts of Women).
  • Focus Areas: These courts dealt with family cases, marriage disputes, bigamy, succession, and labor-related motor vehicle accidents.
  • Scheme that has been discontinued: Before the scheme was stopped in 2014-15, the NCW-assisted Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats had a total of 298 sessions.

The need for such a strategy

  • Gender Bias in Traditional Court Systems: Women’s only courts combat gender bias in traditional court systems by providing a fair and non-discriminatory atmosphere for women’s claims.
  • Cultural and Social hurdles: These courts remove cultural and social hurdles that restrict women from seeking justice by providing a culturally sensitive environment in which they can freely participate.
  • Women’s only courts encourage women to exercise their rights, challenge patriarchal norms, and seek justice on their own terms.
  • Addressing Specific concerns: These courts concentrate on concerns specific to women, such as domestic violence, property rights, and gender-based discrimination.
  • Women’s only courts facilitate access to justice for women who suffer geographical and logistical problems in reaching mainstream courts because they are based at the village level.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: These courts provide mediation and negotiation options for settling disputes, which are more effective and less adversarial, particularly in family and community problems.
  • Women’s only courts establish legal precedents and promote awareness about women’s rights, affecting societal norms and fostering good change.
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