Nagaland Commissioner stresses on need to document DB court proceedings

Nagaland Commissioner stresses on need  to document DB court proceedings
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Kohima, March 22: Nagaland State Legal Services Authority today conducted one day training for Dobashis (DBs) on Constitution and Customary Law, Local Laws and their role. It was held in collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner Nagaland at Kohima DPDB Hall.
Speaking on the occasion Nagaland Commissioner, M Patton while pointing that Nagas do not have written customary laws stressed on the documentation of customary laws and rulings passed by the Dobashi courts.
Saying that the fate of the customary laws and court is in the hands of DBs and Goan Burahs, he, emphasized on the need to have proficient DBs to record the proceedings of the DBs court.
Lamenting that there have instances of several backdoor appointments of DBs in the State, Patton said there are no backdoor appointments in the judiciary system and therefore such practices needs to be done away with.
Judge of Gauhati High Court and Executive Chairman of NSLSA, Justice N Kotiswar Singh while speaking on the Constitution and Customary Law, Local Laws & Role of Dobashis stated that customary plays an important role in Nagaland, therefore it should function in relevance with the present situation. He laid emphasis on strengthening the customary courts. He stated that the DBs should work towards dispensing justice and credibility. He gave a concise lecture on the basic structure of the Indian Constitution and said any laws, custom which violates the provision of the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution is void. He also stated that Article 371A despite being a special provision protecting the interest of Nagas, no person is above the Constitution, as such we should respect and adhere to the provisions.
He also maintained that DBs as judges should conduct themselves in order to gain respect and win the trust of the people. He apprised the participants about the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct which laid emphasis on competent, independent, impartial judiciary if courts are to fulfil their role in upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law. Judge of Delhi high Court Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva in his address expressed his view that programme of interaction and exchange of knowledge should be held more frequently to deliver good judgement.
Advocate of Gauhati High Court, C. T. Jamir while dwelling on the Role of DBs and Rules for Administration of Justice and Police in Nagaland (as Amended upto date), stated that Customer Court is the lowest court which dispenses justice to the people and that with the provision under Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution, the Customary Court was here to stay.
As such, he said DBs should no longer be ignorant with the law and should brush up especially with the law and procedure required for manning the Customary Court.
Also saying that it is the provision under Rule 23 A of the Rule for Administration of Justice and Police in Nagaland, 1937, from which the DBs derives it power, he lamented that the DBs are not given original jurisdiction to take up matters on its own and that their power is very limited. Hence, he advised the DBs to approach the concerned department in order that an amendment is brought about to strengthen their powers, duties and functions.
Maintaining that law was not there in the beginning, but with changes in the society, law evolved and was codified, he said hence the DB should also take steps to make sure they evolve so as to bring changes in the society.
Most people in Nagaland do not know customs, so the DB institution is relevant for the reason that they are the guardian of Customary Laws, he said.
Additional Advocate General, Nagaland, Kakheto Sema apprised the participants on Nagaland Village and Area Council Act,1978 and duties and function of the village Council Members and Dobashis. He urged the DBs to maintain proper records of the cases as testimonies of the DBs can be a source of customary laws in case if codification of law is to take place. (Page News Service)