Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench
Nagaland, situated in the extreme North East of India is the beautiful land of the Nagas - an amalgamation of several tribes of Mongoloid descent whose people are simple, honest and truthful. The Nagas had a rudimentary system of delivering justice based on simplicity and truthfulness. This customary law was handed down the generations solely through the word of mouth differing in usage and practice among the various tribes. Though still unwritten, it continues to be practised in the village level for resolving minor disputes. Its relevance was such that when the Nagaland state was inaugurated, the people fiercely demanded its protection from the Indian system of laws. As such, the constitution of India has a special provision Article 371(A) which protects the Naga customary laws. However, with the advent of Indian system of governance, it became clear that Naga customary laws would not fully cater to the needs of the people. Thus the need to fill this gap began with the inauguration of the Circuit Bench of the Gauhati High Court at the capital Kohima, on the 1st of December 1972, by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.C.Pathak.
In exercise of the power conferred by sub- section (2) of section 31 of the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation Act, 1971 (81 of 1971), the President of India, after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court and the Governor of Nagaland was pleased to declare a Permanent Bench with the strength of two permanent station judges at Kohima. The Permanent Bench known as the Kohima Bench was inaugurated on the 10th February,1990 by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Subyasachi Mukherji , the then Chief Justice of India.
The Kohima Bench is located on the eastern slope of the Ministers’ Hill with an open view of Kohima town. The building which was earlier 10 MLAs’ Hostel now stands renovated and houses the Kohima Bench, echoing the dawn of the Judiciary in Nagaland. Thus justice delivery system within the State is rendered efficient and the cost of justice dispensation is made reasonable.