The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Village Organization Among the Central Nzemi Nagas', M.A. thesis by Ursula Betts

caption: chapter four - the village administration
caption: the village court
caption: procedure in court; attempts to reconcile in civil case
medium: theses
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: The strength and solidarity of a village community are of vital importance for its political and economic safety, and it is the primary duty of the village court to ensure that solidarity by resolving disputes in such a way that they do not imperil it. Evidence in the normal village court case is not given on oath, oaths having different and much more weighty role in the Central Nzemi judicial system, and there must always be in the normal village court case an element of doubt. Since the court's final decision is irrevocable, a compromise award is in the circumstances both the fairest solution and the one most likely to be acceptable to both parties. If the losing party finds the decision wholly unacceptable he may emigrate and cause the village a loss of members, so a solution acceptable to both parties is to be aimed at. In suits involving property and in disputes over the ownership of land the Central Nzemi village court aims, therefore, not at an outright (94) award, but wherever possible at a compromise, usually by division of the disputed property, as the shortest way to the reconciliation of the parties.