A scene of village life at Chetar village in Jharkhand. Image Credit: Lata Rani

Patna: Of the 32,620 villages in the state of Jharkhand, one stands out for its lack of legal trouble. For 70 years, say the elders of the 1,500-strong Chetar village, the residents haven’t reported a crime to the police or dragged cases to court.

 “Whenever there is any dispute in the village, we sit together and settle the case at our own level. None from the village has registered any FIR (first information report) with the local police in the past seven decades. This is our biggest achievement,” 82-year-old Tularam Mahato  said. 

Another elder from the village in Ramgarh district in Jharkhand, 72-year-old Mutukram Karmali, made a similar claim. “We have been totally against any issue being reported to the police or the case. Whether it is land dispute or quarrels, we solve them at our own level, amicably,” Karmali said.

He said however that a lack of cases registered didn’t mean accused people went scot-free or there is no ‘rule of law’. “A committee of villagers imposes fine[s] on villagers [found] guilty and that money is spent on the carrying out [of] public works or helping the poor,” Karmali said. 

Sheela Kumari, a school teacher, credits the growing awareness of education among the villagers for this rare achievement. “Most of the villagers here are educated and are employed [in] various departments, which have helped contain the cases going to the police or the court,” she said.

She said just every about every second home has a member who is employed as a teacher in government or private schools. As per reports, there are 40 government and 20 private teachers in the village; there are also 70 students pursuing technical education.

The village has around 150 houses.

 “Such [a] level of awareness for education among village has apparently helped us tackle even serious cases at our own level. We are proud of it,” she said, adding most families from the village are educated.