Cheriyanad 8 kms off chengannur town in alappuzha district kerala india
cheriyanad panchayath phone number 0479 2360149
email: cheriyanadgp ( at) gmail.com
The kerala state government has selected the Cheriyanad panchayat for the Swaraj Trophy for the best performing panchayat in 2006-07.
The award consists of Rs.5 lakh and special plan assistance of Rs.25 lakh and a trophy.Cheriyanad panchayat was the first panchayat to be declared litigation-free in the country. It had presented notable performance in integrated vegetable farming and organisation of self help groups for Scheduled Castes.
Cheriyanad village, created history when Supreme Court Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan declared the place as the ‘first litigation-controlled panchayat,’ in the presence of thousands of village men who have sucessfully implemented the experiment of ‘Panchayat Court’.
Also present were Kerala High Court Chief Justice H L Dattu,and Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan who declared Cheriyanad as the first legally literate panchayat in the country.
The chief justice said that Cheriyanad achieved this rare distinction when 3.58 crore cases were pending in various courts in the country.Five out of 100 persons are litigants in the country and about 48,000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court alone.There is also a 23 percent increase in the filing of cases in the country.
He has termed the Cheriyanad experiment as a meaningful concept which can be emulated by thousands of other villages in other parts of country, he said that the 73 and 74 amendments in the Constitution brought about revolution in the panchayath iraj system.he also hailed the work of the Asok Mehtha Commission in which former Chief Minister E M S Nampoothiripad was a member for bringing changes in the Panchayathiraj set-up.
Achuthanandan said that his government would take effective steps on reaching out to poor persons with regard to legal affairs as soon as it received the Law Reforms Commission headed by Justice V R Krishna Iyer.
Justice Dattu said that the Kerala State Legal Service Authority (KELSA) was willing to help other panchayats which wanted to follow the Cheriyanad experiment.
Kerala High Court Judge J B Koshy, who is also the chairman of KELSA, Judge C N Ramachandran Nair, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Vijayakumar and C S Sujatha MP spoke on the occasion.
The Pachayat at Cheriyanad has setup local level committee to facilitate out of the court settlements whenever disputes arise in the village. The committee was very successful in minimizing the litigations from the Panchayat disposing over 400 petitions locally ast year!
In the beginning, the Panchayat president was the chairman of the village court. The vice-president and ward members are the members. Later it was developed and strengthened by including a retired superintendent of police, who is also a legal expert, retired BDO, a college lecturer, a social worker and two standing committee members of the Panchayat. The fact that more than 160 disputes were settled within two years was a striking proof of the ability of the leadership as well as the transparency in the functioning of the system. Thus, Cheriyanad became a glorious symbol of the concept of “court in to people” rather than “people in to court”. Disputes, which were supposed to be settled only through legal courts and those to be filed in courts, were successfully settled in village courts.