Brief History of Saiha District Courts
Previously, administration of justice was manned by the Deputy Commissioner and his Assistants in accordance with Rules for the Regulation of the Procedure of Officers Appointed to Administer Justice in the Lushai Hills, 1937 made by virtue of section 6 of the Scheduled Districts Act, 1874 (Act No. XIV of 1874) by the then British people and remains in force till implementation of the scheme of separation of judiciary from the executive during 2008 in the district of Saiha [Vide, Notification No. A. 48011/2/2008- LJE/61: Dt. the 1st July, 2008 published in the Mizoram Gazette, Extra Ordinary: Vol. XXXVIII, 16.7.2008, Asadha 25, S.E. 1930, Issue No. 253]. Under the said Rules of 1937, Deputy Commissioner and his Assistants as bestowed the powers under sub-section (5) of section 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 acted as Sessions Judge, Chief Judicial Magistrate and other Judicial Magistrates for trying criminal cases. Civil cases in between non indigenous tribes and others were also dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner and his Assistant.
In the post independence era on April 23, 1953, Pawi-Lakher Regional Council with its headquarters at Saiha was inaugurated in accordance with the provisions of the sixth schedule to the Constitution of India. Thereafter, as soon as the then Lushai hills was emerged into Union Territory on 21st Jan, 1972, the first Chief Commissioner in the Union Territory period S.J. Das promulgated Pawi-Lakher Autonomous Region (Re-organisation) Order 1972, dated 1st April 1972 by virtue of paragraph 1 (2) of the sixth schedule to the Constitution of India. It resulted trifurcation of the existing Pawi-Lakher Autonomous Region into Pawi Autonomous Region with it’s headquarter at Lawgtlai, Lakher Autonomous Region with its headquarter at Saiha and Chakma Autonomous Region with its headquarter at Kamalanagar (Chawngte).
By virtue of paragraph 5 of the Mizoram District Councils (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order, 1972, the Pawi-Lakher Autonomous Region (Administration of Justice) Rules, 1954 under No. RCE. 11/54/9/351, the 1st March, 1954 duly promulgated in pursuance of paragraph 11 of the sixth schedule to the Constitution of India with previous approval of the Govt. of Assam under sub-paragraph (4) of the paragraph 4 of the said sixth schedule. Further, the then Lakher Autonomous District Council with the previous approval of the Administrator of the then Union Territory of Mizoram made the Lakher Autonomous District (Administration of Justice) Rules, 1981 read with the Mara Autonomous District Council (Village Council) Act, 1974, three classes of courts were constituted by these Rules of 1981 meant for civil and petty criminal cases amongst the Mara/Lakher tribes namely-
• Village Courts
• Subordinate District Council Courts
• District Council Court
In civil cases courts established under the Mizoram Civil Courts Act, 2005 viz. Hon’ble Courts of Senior Civil Judge and Civil Judge and the aforesaid Hon’ble District Council Courts were established together having distinct subject matter jurisdictions.
In criminal cases, Hon’ble courts of Chief Judicial Magistrate and other Judicial Magistrates were established whilst various courts under the District Council administration were remains competent to try petty criminal cases in accordance with the Lakher Autonomous District (Administration of Justice) Rules, 1981.
In a nutshell, presently Saiha is one of the revenue districts under the territorial jurisdiction of Lunglei Judicial District/Lunglei Sessions Division headed by Hon’ble Chief Judicial Magistrate-Cum-Senior Civil Judge since insulation of judiciary from the executive in 2008.