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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MIZORAM JUDICIARY

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF MIZORAM JUDICIARY

          Before the British annexed the territory of the then Lushai Hills in 1890, the traditional chief’s with the assistance of his village elders in their respective territorial jurisdictions had a full power to administer both civil and criminal justice. Even after 1890, the ruling chief also continued to administer justice in all civil and criminal justice except heinous offences like murder, rape and unnatural offences till the enactment of the Assam Lushai Hills District (Acquisition of chiefs rights) Act, 1954 and the same had been directly taken cognizance by the then Superintendent and his assistants. Thereafter, the British Government in exercise of the powers conferred under section 6 of the Schedule District Act, 1874, promulgated “the Rules for the regulation of the procedure of Officers appointed to administer justice in the Lushai Hills, 1906 under Notification No.12522J. Dated; 29.11.1906. It envisaged that both civil and criminal justice used to be administered ordinarily by the Superintendent and his Assistants.

             On 25th March, 1937, the Governor of Assam in exercise of the powers bestowed under section 6 of the Schedule District Act, 1874 prescribed the revised ‘Rules for the regulation of the procedure of Officers appointed to administer justice in the Lushai Hills’ under No. 2530 (a) A .P. Dated the 25th March, 1937. It cancels all previous orders in the subject. Wherein, the Deputy Commissioner and his Assistants were entrusted to administer both civil and criminal justice under rules 8 and 15 of the said rules. As per the Assam Autonomous District (Administration of justice) Act, 1960 Vide, the Assam Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Dated the 20th April, 1960, Additional Deputy Commissioners can be able to appoint for the Autonomous District either generally, or for the trial of a particular case or cases, civil or criminal, and may direct that such Additional Deputy Commissioner shall, for the general or special purposes exercise all or any of the powers of the Deputy Commissioner. 

On 7th April, 1953 under No. DLC. 14/53, Aijal, the 7th April, 1953, the Lushai Hills Autonomous District (Administration of justice) Rules,1953 was chalked out under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 4 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Rule 59 of the said rules of 1953 barred the Deputy Commissioner and his Assistants  to try cases triable by courts established under these rules of 1953, the Assam Autonomous District Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions)Act,1957 (Act No. XXII of 1957) effective from 15th Feb., 1958 under No. TAO/R/51/80, Shillong, the 7th Feb., 1958 enumerated that any case which at any stage after the Deputy Commissioner or an Assistant to him has taken cognizance of, transpires to be so triable shall be transferred to Courts constituted under paragraph 4 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. It created courts of tribal to tribal cases, such as-

 

(1)  Village Courts in every recognized village in Mizoram               

(2) Subordinate District Council Courts at Aizawl and Lunglei and Additional Subordinate District Council Courts.                                  

(3)  District Council Court at Aizawl.       

Moreover, the following Rules were promulgated to govern judiciary in the territory;- 

(1)   The Pawi-Lakher Autonomous Region (Administration of justice) Rules, 1954 which later adapted or applied to the Chakma Autonomous District Council under paragraph 5 of the Mizoram District Councils (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order, 1972.

(2)   The Pawi Autonomous District (Administration of justice) Rules, 1974.

(3)   The Lakher Autonomous District (Administration of justice) Rules, 1981.

Existence of Special courts and tribunals etc. in Mizoram: 

(i)Court of Special Judge under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988:

In exercise of the power conferred under sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (No.49 of 1988) as amended from time to time, and with prior concurrence of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court conveyed letter No.HC.VII-48/95/3156/A, Dated, 4.8.1997, the Governor of Mizoram constituted the court of Special Judge at Aizawl for the whole of Mizoram for speedy trial of offences under the said Act on 19th August, 1997 under No. A. 45012/10/93 - LJE; Dated Aizawl, the 19th August, 1997. Prior to constituted of the said Court, the court of Special Judge at Silchar under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was also extended to Mizoram in respect of jurisdiction. The said court had started functioning on 17thNov, 1997 under No.A.12011/1/97- SC (PCA); Dated Aizawl, the 17th Nov., 1997. 

Note:

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Special Judge under PC Act, 1988 or CBI Court/ACB Court as the case may be. Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(ii) Special Court under ND&PS Act, 1985: 

By virtue of the powers nested under sub-section (2) of section 36 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 as amended by the ND&PS (Amendment) Act, 1988(Act No.2 of 1989), the Governor of Mizoram with the concurrence of Hon’ble Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court appointed Judge of the Special Court, Aizawl District, Aizawl under No.A.45011/1/95-P&AR (CSW) (L), Dated Aizawl,the 11thAugust,1995 which is constituted under notification No.A.48011/22/93-LJE Dt.8.8.1995. The jurisdiction of the above stated Special Court has been extended also to the Districts of Champhai, Mamit, Kolasib and Serchhip under Notification No. A. 48011/22/93-LJE/327, Dated Aizawl, the 20th August, 1999. This Court is again set up under No. A. 12011/32/06-LJE, the 2nd June, 2008 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary: Vol. XXXVII, 12.6.2008, Jyaistha 22, Issue No. 197] 

Note:

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Judge, Special Court under ND&PS Act, 1988 Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(iii) Special Court under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955: 

The first Judge in the said Court was appointed under No. F. 23014/1/97-SCE (A), Dated Aizawl, the 12thMarch,1997 and started functioning from that date sit at Aizawl. This Court is again set up under No. A. 12011/32/06-LJE, the 2nd June, 2008 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary: Vol. XXXVII, 12.6.2008, Jyaistha 22, Issue No. 197]

Note:

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Judge, Special Court under EC Act, 1955 Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(iv) Juvenile Justice Boards: 

In exercise of the power conferred under sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, the Governor of Mizoram constituted for the first time, Juvenile Justice Board on 31stMay, 2005 under Notification No. B.12019/2/04-SWD which has a territorial jurisdiction over the districts of Aizawl, Champhai, Kolasib, Serchhip and Mamit. In Lunglei, for the first time on 6thFeb, 2007, a separate Juvenile Justice Board was also constituted for the districts of Lunglei, Saiha and Lawngtlai under Notification No. B. 12019/3/92-SWD published in the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXXVI, Aizawl, 9.2.2007, Issue No.19.

(v) Lok  Adalat: 

The Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 (No.39 of 1987) was enacted on 11th Oct. 1987, the National Legal Services Rules, 1995 and the Mizoram State Legal Services Authority Rules, 1996 and Regulations, 1998 were also framed under the said Act of 1987. In compliance with sub-section (1) of section 19 of the Legal services Authorities Act, 1987, the state authority of Mizoram also set up Lok Adalats in every administrative districts functioning in accordance with the above Act, Rules and Regulations eked out by the National Legal Services Authority (Lok Adalats) Regulations, 2009. 

In respect of the public utility services as defined under clause (b) of section 22 A of the Act of 1987, the Mizoram State Legal Services Authority established Permanent Lok Adalat on 8th Feb., 2010 for the territorial judicial districts of Aizawl and Lunglei chaired by the District & Sessions Judges respectively with two Members each in accordance with the Permanent Lok Adalat (Other terms and conditions of appointment of Chairman and other Persons) Rules, 2003 [Vide, Notification No. F. 13015/1/’05-SLSA/28, the 8th Feb., 2010 published in the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary Vol. XXXIX 24-02-2010 Issue No. 46]

(vi) Motor Accident Claims Tribunal: 

Before 5th Jan.,1996, Motor accident Claims Tribunal(MACT) was taken up by Transport Department and Secretariat administration department, Government of Mizoram, by virtue of rule 3 of the Government of Mizoram (Allocation of Business) Rules,1987, the Government of Mizoram re-allocated the matter to the Law and Judicial Department under No.A.40011/1/94-GAD/Loose-1, the 5thJanuary,1996. Thereafter on 3rdJan, 2000, the Government of Mizoram constituted MACT, Lunglei with the court of Additional District Magistrate (Judicial), Lunglei for the districts of Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Saiha  the existing Presiding Officer therefore and thenceforth comprised of the districts of Aizawl, Champhai, Serchhip, Kolasib and Mamit. The ADM (J) Lunglei also functions as Presiding Officer in addition to his own duties as notified under Notification No. A.51011/1/96-L&J (CSW), the 3rdJanuary, 2000 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXIV, 28.1.2000, SE 1921, Issue No.10]. 

In the era of insulation of judiciary in the state, the Government of Mizoram under Notification No. A. 12011/32/06-LJE, the 30th November, 2009 invested the District Judge, Lunglei with all the powers of a Member of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal to try motor accident claims cases within the jurisdiction of the Lunglei Judicial District covering the administrative districts of Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Saiha whereas the territorial jurisdiction of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal at Aizawl stands restricted to the Aizawl Judicial District comprised of the Aizawl, Kolasib, Mamit, Champhai and Serchhip administrative districts only. [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary, Vol. XXXVIII, 2.12.2009 Issue No. 542].

Note:

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Member, MACT under MV Act, 1988 Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(vii)  State Commission and District Forums under the Consumer Protection Act,1986: 

State Commission at state level and District Forums at various districts in the state of Mizoram were constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 read with the provision of the Mizoram Consumer Protection Rules, 2010 Vide, No. F. 26016/24/08- FCS&CA, the 27th Sept., 2010 published in the Mizoram Gazette, Ext. Ordinary, Vol. XXXIX, 4.10.2010, Issue No. 375 [w.e.f. 1st March, 2010]

(viii) Commissioner for Workman’s Compensation: 

Commissioner for Workman’s compensation has been allocated to Law and Judicial Department, Government of Mizoram on 5thJanuary, 1996 under No. A. 40011/1/94-GAD/Loose-1, the 5thJanuary, 1996. Thereafter, on 8thJuly, 2008 under Notification No. A. 46011/19/2007-GAD (Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary: Vol. XXXVII 22.7.2008, Asadha 31, S.E. 1930, Issue No. 265) the Government of Mizoram entrusted adjudication of claims through Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation under Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 fully in the hands of Labour & Employment Department even for appointment of Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation thenceforth.

(ix) Special Courts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002:

The Government of Mizoram under Notification No. A. 45011/1/2008-LJE, the 9th November, 2009 designated First Additional District & Sessions Judge, Aizawl Judicial District and Additional District & Sessions Judge, Lunglei Judicial District as Special Courts for trial of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 as conveyed by the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court under No. HC. VII-73/05/11052A, Dt. 30-09-2009 in respect of their respective judicial districts [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary, Vol. XXXVIII 13.11.2009, Issue No. 516].

(x) Family Courts:  

In terms of the provisions of the Family Courts Act, 1984 and the Mizoram Family Courts Rules, 2008, on 10th March, 2010, the Government of Mizoram in consultation with the Gauhati High Court established Family Court at Aizawl for the administrative districts of Aizawl, Serchhip and Mamit. Family Court at Lunglei for the administrative district of Lunglei which excludes the administrative districts of Lawngtlai and Saiha. Family Court at Kolasib for the administrative district of Kolasib and Champhai for the administrative district of Champhai. It was further notified that the staff of the Mizo District Council Court at Aizawl, Subordinate District Council Courts at Aizawl and Lunglei, Additional Subordinate District Council Courts at Kolasib and Champhai were thenceforth be the staff of the respective Family Courts in addition to their existing duties and responsibilities if any [Vide, Notification No. A. 12011/39/2008- LJE, the 10th March, 2010 published in the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary Vol. XXXIX 23-03-2010 Issue No. 77].

Note:

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Judge, Family Court under the Family Courts Act, 1984 Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(XI) Special Courts under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. 

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Judge, Special Court under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010

(XII) Human Rights Court: 

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Judge, Human Rights Court under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010. 

(XIII) Industrial Tribunal: 

All Judicial Officers in the Grade- I (District Judge Cadre) of the Mizoram Judicial Service were designated as Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Vide, Notification No. A. 12035/1/2008- LJE, Dated Aizawl, the 16th December, 2010.

Separation of Judiciary in Mizoram: Its process 

          To trigger the arduous task, a meeting of the “State Level Committee on a pendency of criminal cases” was held on 1/8/1978 and 17/12/1979 presided over by the then Chief Minister of Mizoram, in that committee meeting, separation of judiciary was one of the items to discussed with a note that a paper should be prepared by the Law Department to examine the various legal and practical aspects relating to the separation of judiciary from the executive. Subsequently, in the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 11/4/1983, the agenda item no. 1 was separation of judiciary from the executive in Mizoram. In pursuance to the said meeting’s decision, a cabinet Memorandum on separation of judiciary was prepared by the then Law Secretary. 

          The Gauhati High Court also verdict for separation of judiciary in the case of Dingliana Vs. Union Territory of Mizoram & Ors. under Civil Rule (HC) No. 30 of 1985 and in the case of PUCL, Mizoram  Vs. State of Mizoram & Ors. under Civil Rule No.4/91 (MB). (Civil Rule No. 3626 of 1991). 

          On 15thJanuary, 2002, the Council of Ministers meeting, Mizoram, decided to realize separation of judiciary in Mizoram. Thus, Notification No. A. 48011/2/92-LJE/290. Dated the 22nd January, 2002 was issued for the operation of separation of judiciary in Mizoram. In the meantime, the said order was rescind on 1stApril, 2002 under Notification No.A.48011/2/92-LJE/294. 

The Government of Mizoram allocated the subject ‘Separation of judiciary from the executive’ to the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms by virtue of clause (3) of Government of Mizoram (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1987 under Notification No. A. 46011/1/98 GAD/Pt. 111, the 16thOct, 2002 published in the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXXI, 21.10.2002,S.E. -1924, Issue No. 343. 

          Since it is a matter of Constitutional mandate, the Hon’ble Apex Court on the 17thJanuary, 2005 urged the states of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland to operate separation of judiciary in the case of All India Judges Association & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors under Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1022/1989. In compliance with the said direction, the Council of Ministers meeting resolved insulation of judiciary on 21stFebruary, 2005 Vide, Conveyed No. J.11012/2/2005,POL Dated the 25thFebruary, 2005. Thus, Notification No.A.36016/5/2001-P&AR (CSW), Dated the 16th June, 2005 was issued. [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXXIV, 20.6.2005, S.E.1927, Issue No. 139] for separation of judiciary from the executive in Mizoram.  The said Notification was later put kept in abeyance under Notification No. A. 36016/5/2001-P&AR (CSW), the 10thNovember, 2006, [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol.-XXXV, 10.11.2006, S.E. 1928, Issue No. 291]. 

          Since, the Mizoram Judicial Service Rules, 2006 has been notified under No. A.12018/1/2003-DP&AR (CSW), the 12th December,2006, [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXXV, 12.12.2006, S.E. 1928, Issue No.321], the process of separation of judiciary in Mizoram again  in fact marched ahead. The Gauhati High Court, therefore, absorbed/inducted forthwith of all the then existing 22 Judicial Officers in the Mizoram Judicial Service under No. HC.VII-14/2007/2499/A, Dated Guwahati, 24th May, 2007 in reference to letter No. A. 12018/1/2005, Dated 14.12.2006 issued by DP&AR (CSW), Government of Mizoram.  The state of Mizoram also complied with the said absorption as notified under No.A.32022/3/07- LJE, the 6th Sept, 2007 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary; Vol. XXXVI, 7.9.2007, S.E.1929, Issue No. 233]. 

Ultimately, the Government of Mizoram under Notification No. A. 48011/2/2005 - LJE,  the 9th May, 2008 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary, Vol. XXXVII, 21.5.2008 Vaisakha, 31, S.E 1930 Issue No. 177] overwhelmed the order for kept in abeyance of the operation of separation of judiciary in Mizoram which retrieved the implementation for speedy process. Thereafter, according to Notification No. A. 48011/2/2008- LJE/61: Dt. the 1st July, 2008 [Vide, the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary: Vol. XXXVIII, 16.7.2008, Asadha 25, S.E. 1930, Issue No. 253], separation of judiciary from the Executive in Mizoram covers the whole state of Mizoram including the Autonomous District Councils area which in the previous notification excludes the three Autonomous District Council areas.

 

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