CIVIL

Nyaya Panchayats under WB Panchayat Act

West Bengal

CHAPTER VII
Nyaya Panchayats

51. Constitution of Nyaya Panchayat. – .1) Every Gram Panchayat shall, if authorised by the State Government by notification to do so, constitute a Nyaya Panchayat, consisting of five members, to be called Vicharaks, elected by it at such time and in such manner as may be prescribed from amongst persons whose names are included in the electoral roll of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly for the time being in force pertaining to the area comprised in the Gram, other than a person who is a member of any Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti [, Zilla Parishad, Mahakuma Parishad or Council] or of any municipal authority constituted under any of the Acts referred to in sub-section (2) of section 1, for the trial of –
(a) the offences specified in the Second Schedule or a case transferred to the Nyaya Panchayat under sub-section (2) of section 52;
(b) all or any of the classes of civil suits specified in section 61;
Provided that no person shall be elected to be a member of a Nyaya Panchayat if he has any of the disqualifications mentioned in section 8.
(2) Every Nyaya Panchayat constituted under sub-section (1) shall be notified in the Official Gazette, or in such other manner as may be prescribed, and shall come into office with effect from the date specified in the said notification.
(3) Every Nyaya Panchayat shall elect at such time and in such manner as may be prescribed one of its members to be called Pradhan Vicharakto preside over its sittings and in the absence of the Pradhan Vicharak, the Vicharaks present at the sitting of the Nyaya Panchayat shall elect one of them to be the Pradhan Vicharak for the purpose of that sitting.
(4) The term of office of a member of a Nyaya Panchayat shall be [five years] from the date of the notification mentioned in sub-section (2):
Provided that the members of a Nyaya Panchayat shall continue in office until the election of the members of the Nyaya Panchayat by the newly constituted Gram Panchayat after a general election and assumption of office by such members.
(5) No Nyaya Panchayat shall try any suit, case or other proceeding pending before it unless at least three members of the Nyaya Panchayat are present during such trial.
(6) The Secretary to the Gram Panchayat shall act as the Secretary to the Nyaya Panchayat for the purpose of keeping the records of its proceedings and decisions, and doing such other duties as may be prescribed.
52. Criminal jurisdiction. – (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, a Nyaya Panchayat constituted under section 51 shall have jurisdiction, within the local limits of the Gram Panchayat constituting such Nyaya Panchayat, to try all offences specified in the Second Schedule, Part A; and, with effect from the date specified in the notification referred to in sub-section (2) of section 51, no other court shall, except as otherwise provided in this Act, take cognizance of any case triable by a Nyaya Panchayat:
Provided that nothing in this Act shall take away the jurisdiction of any court to try a case which a Nyaya Panchayat is prohibited by section 78 from trying or which should be, in the opinion of the Nyaya Panchayat or of the Sessions Judge or the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate exercising the power conferred by sub-section (1) of section 79, tried in an ordinary court.
(2) A Nyaya Panchayat may try any offence specified in the Second Schedule, Part B, if the case is transferred to it by a Sessions Judge, a Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate or any other Judicial Magistrate empowered to receive petition under section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898:
Provided that –
(a) a Judicial Magistrate before whom a complaint of an offence mentioned in the Second Schedule, Part A, cognizable by a Nyaya Panchayatis made, shall transfer the complaint to the Nyaya Panchayat which is competent to try the offence;
(b) the Sessions Judge or Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate may transfer any case from one Nyaya Panchayat to another or to any other court subordinate to him if in the interest of justice he considers it necessary to do so;
(c) the Sessions Judge or Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate may, with the consent of the parties, transfer any case cognizable by a Nyaya Panchayat, if the place of residence of the complainant is situated within the limits of a Gram Panchayat for which there is no Nyaya Panchayat, to any Nyaya Panchayat situated at a distance from such place of residence convenient, in the opinion of the Sessions Judge or the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate, as the case may be, for the parties and witnesses.
(3) Every offence triable by a Nyaya Panchayat shall ordinarily be tried by the Nyaya Panchayat within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.
(4) The offence ,of theft triable by a Nyaya Panchayat or any offence which includes theft or the possession of stolen property, triable by a Nyaya Panchayat, may be tried by the Nyaya Panchayat within the local limits of whose jurisdiction such offence was committed or the property stolen was possessed by the thief or by any person who received or retained the same knowing or having reason to believe it to be stolen.
(5) An offence triable by a Nyaya Panchayat, committed whilst the offender is in the course of performing a journey, may be tried by the Nyaya Panchayat through or into the local limits of whose jurisdiction the offender, or the person against whom, or the thing in respect of which, the offence was committed, passed in the course of that journey.
(6) When it is uncertain in which of several areas an offence was committed, or where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or where an offence is a continuing one and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or where it consists of several acts done in different local areas, it may be tried by a Nyaya Panchayat having jurisdiction over any such local areas.
(7) Whenever a question arises as to which of two or more Nyaya Panchayats subordinate to the same Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate ought to try any offence, it shall be decided by the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate.
(8) Whenever a question arises as to which of two or more Nyaya Panchayats not subordinate to the same Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate, but subordinate to the same Sessions Judge, ought to try any offence, it shall be decided by the Sessions Judge.
(9) Where two or more Nyaya Panchayats not subordinate to the same Sessions Judge have taken cognizance of the same offence, the Sessions Judge within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the proceedings were first commenced may direct the trial of such offender to be held in anyNyaya Panchayat subordinate to him and if he so decides all other proceedings against such person in respect of such offence shall be discontinued.
53. How case may be instituted. – A case before Nyaya Panchayat may be instituted by petition made orally or in writing to the Secretary of theGram Panchayat or in his absence to a member of the Nyaya Panchayat. If the petition is made orally, the Secretary or the member, as the case may be, shall draw up a statement recording the name of the petitioner, the name of the person against whom the petition is made, the nature of the offence and such other particulars, if any, as may be prescribed, and the signature or the thumb impression of the petitioner shall be taken thereon. The Secretary or the member, as the case may be, shall, thereafter, direct the petitioner to appear before the Nyaya Panchayat on a particular date.
54. Power to dismiss or refuse to entertain petition. – (1) If upon the face of the petition, or on examining the petitioner, the Nyaya Panchayat is of opinion that the petition is frivolous, vexatious or untrue, it shall dismiss the case by an order in writing.
(2) If at any time it appears to the Nyaya Panchayat –
(a) that it has no jurisdiction to try the case; or
(b) that the offence is one for which the sentence which it is competent to pass would be inadequate; or
(c) that the case is one which should not be tried by it,
it shall direct the petitioner by an order in writing to the court which would have had jurisdiction to try the offence but for the provisions of this Act.
55. Dismissal for default. – If in any case before a Nyaya Panchayat the petitioner fails to appear on the day fixed, or if in the opinion of the Nyaya Panchayat, he shows negligence in prosecuting his case, the Nyaya Panchayat may dismiss the case for default, and such order of dismissal shall operate an acquittal.
56. Proceeding preliminary to trial. – (1) If the petition be not dismissed, the Nyaya Panchayat shall, subject to the provisions of section 83, by summons require the accused to appear and answer the petition.
(2) If the accused fails to appear or cannot be found, the Nyaya Panchayat shall report the fact to the nearest Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate, who would have had jurisdiction to try the offence but for the provisions of this Act, who may issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused and when arrested may forward him for trial to the Nyaya Panchayat or release him on bail to appear before it.
(3) The Nyaya Panchayat shall, if possible, try the case on the day on which the accused appears or is brought before it, but if that is not possible, the Nyaya Panchayat shall release him on his executing a bond for a sum not exceeding twenty-five rupees to appear before it on any subsequent day or days to which the trial may be adjourned:
Provided that if the accused fails or refuses to execute a bond, the Nyaya Panchayat shall, instead of releasing him, send him back under custody to the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate by whom such accused was arrested and thereupon such Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate shall, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) of section 52, take cognizance of the complaint made before the Nyaya Panchayat and shall try such accused person in the same manner and under the same procedure as if the complaint were made before him.

57. Compounding of offences. – Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the Nyaya Panchayat may allow the parties to compound any offence triable by it.
58. Bar to appeal. – Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, there shall be no appeal by a convicted person in any case tried by a Nyaya Panchayat:
Provided that the Sessions Judge or Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the Nyaya Panchayat is situate, if satisfied that failure of justice has occurred, may, of his own motion, or on the application of any of the parties concerned, made within thirty days from the date of the order of the Nyaya Panchayat, cancel or modify any order of conviction or of compensation made by a Nyaya Panchayat or direct the retrial of any case by a court of competent jurisdiction subordinate to him, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) of section 52.
59. Power to impose fine or to award compensation. – (1) A Nyaya Panchayat shall, after hearing the parties and after considering the evidence adduced by the parties, record its decision in writing, and may sentence any offender convicted by it to pay a fine not exceeding fifty rupees:
Provided that if the members for the Nyaya Panchayat present during the trial of a case fail to come to an unanimous decision, the decision of the majority of such members shall be the decision of the Nyaya Panchayat:
Provided further that in the case of equality of votes of the members of a Nyaya Panchayat present during the trial of a case, the Pradhan Vicharak, or the person who is elected as Pradhan Vicharak for that sitting, shall have a second or casting vote and the decision of the Nyaya Panchayat shall be in accordance with such second or casting vote.
(2) No sentence of imprisonment, simple or rigorous, whether substantive or in default of payment of fine shall be awarded by any Nyaya Panchayat.
(3) When a Nyaya Panchayat imposes a fine under sub-section (1), it may, when passing the order, direct that the whole or any part of the fine recovered shall be applied in payment of compensation for any loss or injury caused by the offence.
(4) If a Nyaya Panchayat is satisfied that a complaint made before it or transferred to it for trial is false, vexatious or frivolous, it may order the complainant to pay to the accused, such compensation not exceeding twenty-five rupees, as it thinks fit.
(5) If such fine or compensation is not paid or realised within thirty days of the passing of the sentence or order or within such further time as theNyaya Panchayat may allow, the Nyaya Panchayat shall record an order declaring the amount of fine imposed or compensation awarded and that it has not been paid, and shall forward the same to the nearest Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate, who would have had jurisdiction to cry the case but for the provisions of this Act, and the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate shall –
(a) proceed to execute the order as if it were an order passed by himself, or
(b) in default of payment, sentence the accused to imprisonment in accordance with Chapter III of the Indian Penal Code, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) of this section:
Provided that, notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Penal Code –
(a) the fine imposed or compensation awarded by a Nyaya Panchayat shall not be realised from any person who has served his term of imprisonment;
(b) the person serving his term of imprisonment shall be forthwith released, if the fine or compensation is paid before the expiry of the term of imprisonment.
60. Release after admonition or on probation of good conduct. – When any person is convicted by a Nyaya Panchayat and no previous conviction is proved against him, if it appears to the said Nyaya Panchayat that regard being had to the age, character and antecedents of the offender and to the circumstances in which the offence was committed, it is expedient –
(a) that the offender should be released after the admonition, the Nyaya Panchayat may, instead of sentencing him to any punishment, release him after due admonition; or
(b) that the offender should be released on probation of good conduct, the Nyaya Panchayat may, notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, instead of sentencing him at once to any punishment, direct that he be released on his executing a bond for a sum not exceeding fifty rupees to appear and receive sentence when called upon during such period (not exceeding one year) as it may direct, and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

61. Civil jurisdiction. – (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887, the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887, and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and subject to the provisions of sections 62 and 63, a Nyaya Panchayat shall have, within the local limits of the Gram Panchayat constituting such Nyaya Panchayat; jurisdiction to try the following classes of suits when the value of the suit does not exceed two hundred and fifty rupees, namely:-
(a) suits for money due on contracts;
(b) suits for the recovery of movable property or the value of such property;
(c) suits for compensation for wrongfully taking or damaging movable property; and
(d) suits for damages by cattle-trespass.
(2) No other court shall have jurisdiction to try any suit of the classes mentioned in sub-section (1):
Provided that nothing in this Act shall take away the jurisdiction of any court to try a suit which a Nyaya Panchayat is prohibited by section 78 from trying or which should be, in the opinion of the Nyaya Panchayat or of the District Judge exercising the power conferred by sub-section (2) of section 79, tried by an ordinary court.
62. Suits not to be tried. – No suit shall lie in any Nyaya Panchayat –
(a) on a balance of partnership account;
(b) for a share or part of a share under an intestacy, or for a legacy or part of legacy under a Will;
(c) by or against the Union of India or a State Government or a local authority or public officers for acts done in their official capacity;
(d) by or against minors or persons of unsound mind or when any such person is in the Opinion of the Nyaya Panchayat a necessary party;
(e) for the assessment, enhancement, reduction, abatement, apportionment or recovery of rent of immovable property; or
(f) by a mortgagee of immovable property for the enforcement of the mortgage by foreclosure or sale of the property or otherwise, or by a mortgagor of immovable property for the redemption of the mortgage.
63. Suits to include whole claim. – (1) Every suit instituted before a Nyaya Panchayat shall include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff is entitled to make in respect of the matter in dispute, but he may relinquish any portion of his claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of the Nyaya Panchayat.
(2) If the plaintiff omits to sue in respect of or relinquishes any portion of his claim, he shall not afterwards sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished.
64. Local limit of jurisdiction. – No suit shall lie in a Nyaya Panchayat unless at least one of the defendants resides within the limits of its jurisdiction at the time of the institution of the suit, or the cause of action has arisen wholly or in part within those limits.
65. How suit may be instituted. – (1) A suit before a Nyaya Panchayat may be instituted by petition made orally or in writing to the Secretary of the Gram Panchayat or in his absence to a member of the Nyaya Panchayat. If the petition is made orally the Secretary of the member, as the case may be, shall draw up a statement recording the name of the petitioner, the name of the person against whom the petition is made, the nature of the claim and such other particulars, if any, as may be prescribed and the signature or the thumb impression of the petitioner shall be taken thereon. The Secretary or the member, as the case may be, shall thereafter direct the petitioner to appear before the Nyaya Panchayat on a particular date.
(2) The plaintiff on instituting his suit shall state the value of the claim.
66. Dismissal of suits barred by limitation, etc. – (1) If at any time the Nyaya Panchayat is of opinion that the suit is barred by limitation it shall dismiss the suit by an order in writing.
(2) If at any time it appears to the Nyaya Panchayat that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, it shall direct the petitioner to the court having jurisdiction to try such suit.
(3) Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Nyaya Panchayat that a suit has been adjusted wholly or in part by any lawful agreement or compromise or where the defendant satisfies the plaintiff in respect of the whole or any part of the subject-matter of the suit, the Nyaya Panchayatshall pass a decree in accordance therewith so far as it relates to the suit:
Provided that where the Nyaya Panchayat refuses to pass a decree in accordance with the agreement or compromise, it shall record its reasons in writing for so doing.
67. Dismissal of suits for default. – If in any suit before a Nyaya Panchayat the plaintiff fails to appear on the day fixed, or if in the opinion of theNyaya Panchayat, he shows negligence in prosecuting his suit, it may dismiss the suit for default:
Provided that a Nyaya Panchayat may restore a suit dismissed for default, if within thirty days from the date of such dismissal the plaintiff satisfies the Nyaya Panchayat that he was prevented by sufficient cause from appearing at the time when the suit was called on for hearing.
68. Summons to defendant to appear. – If on receiving the plaint the Nyaya Panchayat is satisfied that the trial of the suit may be proceeded with, it shall, by summons, require the defendant to appear and answer the suit either orally or in writing.
69. Ex parte decision. – If the defendant fails to appear and the Nyaya Panchayat is satisfied that the summons was duly served it may decide the suit ex parte:
Provided that any defendant against whom a suit has been decided ex parte may, within thirty days from the date of executing any process for enforcement of the decision, apply, orally or in writing, to the Nyaya Panchayat to set aside the order; and the Nyaya Panchayat, if satisfied that the summons was not duly served on the defendant, or that the defendant was prevented from appearing at the time when the suit was called on for hearing by any sufficient cause, shall set aside the decision and shall appoint a day for proceeding with suit.
70. No order to be set aside without notice to opposite party. – No decision or order of a Nyaya Panchayat shall be set aside under the proviso to section 67 or under the proviso to section 69 unless notice in writing has been served by the Nyaya Panchayat on the opposite party.
71. Power to determine parties. – (1) Subject to the provisions of clauses (c) and (d) of section 62, the Nyaya Panchayat shall add as parties to a suit any person whose presence as parties it considers necessary for a proper decision thereof, and shall enter the names of such parties in the register of suits, and the suit shall be tried as between the parties whose names are entered in the said register:
Provided that when any party is added, notice shall be given to him and he shall be given an opportunity to appear before the trial of the suit is proceeded with.
(2) In all cases where a new party appears under the proviso to sub-section (1) during the trial of a suit, he may require that the trial shall begin de novo.
72. Decision of suits. – (1) When the parties or their agents have been heard and the evidence on both sides considered, the Nyaya Panchayatshall, by written order, pass such decree as may seem just, equitable and according to good conscience, stating in the decree the amounts of prescribed fees and the amount, if any, paid to witnesses under sub-section (3) of section 82 and the persons by whom such amounts are payable:
Provided that if the members of the Nyaya Panchayat present during the trial of a suit fail to come to a unanimous decision, the decision of the majority of such members shall be the decision of the Nyaya Panchayat:
Provided further that in the case of equality of votes of the members of a Nyaya Panchayat present during the trial of a suit, the Pradhan Vicharak, or the person who is elected as Pradhan Vicharak for that sitting, shall have a second or casting vote and the decision of the Nyaya Panchayatshall be in accordance with such second or casting vote.
(2) Subject to such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed, and to the provisions of any law for the time being in force, the costs of, and incidental to, all suits shall be in the discretion of the Nyaya Panchayat and the Nyaya Panchayat shall have full power to determine by whom and to what extent such costs are to be paid, and to give all necessary directions for the purposes aforesaid:
Provided that where the Nyaya Panchayat directs that the successful party shall not get the costs of the suit, it shall state its reasons in writing.
(3) If a Nyaya Panchayat is satisfied that a suit instituted before it is false, vexatious or frivolous, it may direct the plaintiff, by an order in writing, to pay to the defendant such compensation, not exceeding twenty-five rupees, as it may think fit.
73. Instalments. – A Nyaya Panchayat in ordering the payment of a sum of money or the delivery of any movable property may direct that the money be paid, or the movable property be delivered, by instalments.
74. Decision to be final but power to Munsif to order retrial. – The decision of a Nyaya Panchayat in every suit shall be final as between the parties to the suit:
Provided that the Munsif who would have had jurisdiction to try the suit but for the provisions of this Act, may, on the application to any party to the suit made within thirty days of the decree or order of the Nyaya Panchayat, cancel or modify the decree or order of the Nyaya Panchayat or direct a retrial of the suit by the same or any other Nyaya Panchayat if he is satisfied that there has been a failure of justice.
75. Death of parties. – If the plaintiff or defendant in any suit dies before the suit has been decided, the suit may, subject to the provisions of clause (d) of section 62, be proceeded with at the instance of, or against the legal representatives of, the deceased plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be.
76. Effect of decision on questions of title, etc. – The decision of a Nyaya Panchayat on the question of title, legal character, contract or obligation shall not bind the parties except in respect of the suit in which such matter is decided.
77. Procedure for Nyaya Panchayat. – (1) The provisions of –
(a) the West Bengal Court-fees Act, 1970,
(b) the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898,
(c) the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and
(d) the Indian Evidence Act, 1872,
shall not apply to any trial before a Nyaya Panchayat.
(2) The procedure to be followed by a Nyaya Panchayat in any trial, in the enforcement of its decisions anti orders, and in the method of forming a quorum shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be in accordance with prescribed rules.
78. Bar to trial of case or suit in which a Panchayat or its member is interested. – No Nyaya Panchayat shall try any case or suit or other proceeding in which the Gram Panchayat concerned or any member of such Nyaya Panchayat is a party or is interested.
79. Withdrawal or transfer of case or suit. – (1) The Sessions Judge or the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the Nyaya Panchayat is situate, may, of his own motion or on the application of any of the parties to a case or on the motion of theNyaya Panchayat concerned, withdraw the case pending before a Nyaya Panchayat if, for reasons to be recorded by him in writing, he is of opinion that the case is one which should not be tried or heard by the Nyaya Panchayat, and may try or hear the case himself or transfer it for disposal to another Judicial Magistrate who would have had jurisdiction to try the case but for the provisions of this Act.
(2) The District Judge, with the local limits of whose jurisdiction a Nyaya Panchayat is situate, may, of his own motion or on the application of any of the parties to a suit or on the motion of the Nyaya Panchayat concerned, withdraw the suit pending before a Nyaya Panchayat if, for reasons to be recorded by him in writing, he is of opinion that the suit is one which should not be tried or heard by the Nyaya Panchayat, and may try or hear the suit himself or transfer it for disposal to the court of the Munsif who would have had jurisdiction to try the suit but for the provisions of this Act.
(3) If at any stage of a case or a suit any party to such case or suit informs the Nyaya Panchayat that he has applied or that he intends to apply for the withdrawal or transfer of the case or suit under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), as the case may be, the Nyaya Panchayat shall stay further proceedings in the case or suit until such time as it thinks fit.
80. Certain suits and cases not to be tried. – (1) No Nyaya Panchayat shall try any suit in which the matter directly and substantially in dispute has been heard and finally decided by a court of competent jurisdiction in a former suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of the claim.
(2) No Nyaya Panchayat shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter directly and substantially in dispute is pending for decision in the same Nyaya Panchayat or in any other court in a previously instituted suit between the same parties or between parties under whom they or any of them claim.
(3) No Nyaya Panchayat shall try a person who has once been tried by a court or a Nyaya Panchayat of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force.
81. Inspection. – (1) The Sessions Judge and the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the Nyaya Panchayat is situate, shall have the power at all times to inspect the proceedings of any criminal case and the records of criminal cases maintained by a Nyaya Panchayat.
(2) The District Judge and the Munsif within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the Nyaya Panchayat is situate, shall have the power at all times to inspect the proceedings of any suit and the records of suits maintained by a Nyaya Panchayat.
82. Attendance of witnesses. – (1) Subject to the provisions of section 85, a Nyaya Panchayat may, by summons, send for any person to appear and give evidence or to produce or cause the production of any document:
Provided that no person who is exempt from personal appearance in court under sub-section (1) of section 133 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, shall be required to appear in person before a Nyaya Panchayat.
(2) A Nyaya Panchayat shall refuse to summon a witness or to enforce a summons already issued against a witness, where, in the opinion of theNyaya Panchayat, the attendance of the witness cannot be procured without an amount of delay, expense or inconvenience which, under the circumstances of the case, would be unreasonable.
(3) A Nyaya Panchayat shall not require any person living outside the limits of the Gram Panchayat concerned to give evidence, unless such sum of money as may appear to the Nyaya Panchayat to be sufficient to defray the travelling and other expenses of such person and for one day’s attendance is deposited in the Nyaya Panchayat by the party who cites such person as his witness.
(4) If any person whom a Nyaya Panchayat summons by written order to appear or give evidence, or to produce any document before it fails, without lawful excuse, to obey such summons and thereby commits an offence, the Nyaya Panchayat, may take cognizance of such offence and may sentence the person convicted of such offence to a fine not exceeding twenty-five rupees.
83. Appearance of parties. – (1) The parties to cases triable by a Nyaya Panchayat shall appear personally before the Nyaya Panchayat:
Provided that the Nyaya Panchayat, if it thinks fit so to do, may dispense with the personal attendance of an accused and permit him to appear by agent.
(2) The parties to suits triable by a Nyaya Panchayat may appear by agent.
Explanation. – “agent” in sub-sections (1) and (2), means a person who is authorised in writing to appear and plead for either party.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), no person whose name is included in a list of touts framed and published by Sub-divisional Magistrate under section 80A of the Registration Act, 1908, shall be permitted to appear as an agent of a party before aNyaya Panchayat.
84. Legal practitioners not to practise. – Notwithstanding anything contained in the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, legal practitioners shall not be permitted to practise before a Nyaya Panchayat.
85. Appearance of women. – No woman shall be compelled to appear in person before a Nyaya Panchayat as an accused or as a witness.
86. Power to issue commission. – Subject to such rules as may be prescribed, a Nyaya Panchayat may issue a commission to examine any person in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed.
87. Trial of suit triable by more than one Nyaya Panchayat. – Where a suit is maintainable in more than one Nyaya Panchayat, the plaintiff may bring the suit in any one of such Nyaya Panchayats and any dispute regarding the jurisdiction of a Nyaya Panchayat to entertain any suit shall be decided by the Munsif who would have had jurisdiction to try the same but for the provisions of this Act, and the decision of the Munsif thereon shall be final.
88. Realisation of fees and execution of decrees. – (1) All fees imposed and the sums decreed under this Act by a Nyaya Panchayat may be realised under the orders of the Nyaya Panchayat in the same manner as an arrear of rate or tax imposed under this Act and any amount realised in pursuance of such an order shall be paid to the persons entitled to get the same.
(2) If the Nyaya Panchayat granting a decree is unable to effect satisfaction thereof, it shall grant the decree-holder a certificate to that effect stating the amount due to him and the amount due as costs of the suit.
(3) The decree-holder to whom the certificate referred to in sub-section (2) is granted, may make an application, on production of such certificate, to the court of the Munsif within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, for execution of the decree granted by the Nyaya Panchayat.
(4) The court of the Munsif, to which the application referred to in sub-section (3) is made, shall execute the decree granted by the Nyaya Panchayat and in executing such decree it shall have the same powers and it shall follow the same procedure as if it were executing a decree passed by itself.
(5) An application for execution of a decree of a Nyaya Panchayat made after the expiry of three years from the date of the decree or of any order under the proviso to section 74 modifying any such decree, shall be dismissed, although limitation has not been pleaded:
Provided that where the decree is for payment of a sum of money or delivery of any movable property which the decree directs to be made at a certain date, the application from execution of the decree may be made within three years from the date.
89. Registers and records. – Every Nyaya Panchayat shall maintain such registers and records and submit such returns as may be prescribed.
90. Resignation by member of Nyaya Panchayat and filling of casual vacancy. – (1) A member of a Nyaya Panchayat may resign during his term of office by notifying in writing his intention to do so to the prescribed authority and, on such resignation being accepted by the prescribed authority, shall be deemed to have vacated his office.
(2) When the office of member of a Nyaya Panchayat becomes vacant by resignation or otherwise a new member shall, in the same manner as laid down in section 51, be elected by the Gram Panchayat, who shall hold office so long as the member whose office he fills would have been entitled to hold office if such vacancy had not occurred:
Provided that no act of the Nyaya Panchayat shall be deemed to be invalid by reason only the the number of members of the Nyaya Panchayat at the time of the performance of such act was less than the prescribed number.
91. Removal of members of Nyaya Panchayat. – (1) The State Government may, by an order in writing, at any time, for good and sufficient reason to the stated in such order, remove a member of a Nyaya Panchayat.
(2) Before removing a member under sub-section (1), the State Government shall allow the member concerned an opportunity of being heard in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed.
92. Reference to Sessions Judge, etc. – Any reference in this Chapter to the Sessions Judge, the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate and the Judicial Magistrate shall, in the district where the West Bengal Separation of Judicial and Executive Functions Act, 1970, is not in force, be construed as a reference to the District Magistrate, Sub-divisional Magistrate and Magistrate, respectively