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‘Customary courts’ like Khap panchayats unconstitutional: Govt

Government today termed all ‘customary courts’ like Khap panchayats as illegal and unconstitutional and asked state governments to check such set up as it was a serious issue.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda told Lok Sabha that all ‘customary courts’, Khap panchayats and kangaroo courts are ‘against the law and against the Constitution’.

“It is a very serious issue. State governments have to take action and check such customary courts,” he said during Question Hour.

Gowda was replying a supplementary Rabindra Kumar Jena (BJD) who raised the issue of such a court in West Bengal.

The Minister said he would soon write to all states for setting up of ‘Naari Aadalat’ (women courts) for expeditious disposals of cases related to women.

Gowda said the Central government was ready to provide assistance to state governments for setting up of free legal aid cell to help poor and weaker sections of the society.

He said government was committed to providing free legal services to the poor and weaker sections of the society such as members of SC, ST, women and children.

Under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987, persons belonging to SC, ST, a victim of trafficking, a woman, a child, a person with disability, an industrial workman are entitled to free legal services irrespective of their economic or social status, he said.

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