By Harsh Mishra, Law Student
“ In a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, only 1.5 million people are able to seek justice,” – Indian Justice Report 2019. India is the country which used to be the land of the Manu, who provided the first book on law, where there is the existence of the court of Lord Rama, who for the establishment of justice leaves his pregnant wife Sita, where the Great war of Mahabharata took place to establish justice. It is the land where great political thinkers like Kautilya took birth whose book “Arthashastra” still draws a standard of administration and justice on which every administrator wants to stand. This is the land on which the ruler like Jahangir ruled. Who established the “Bell of Justice” and allows the people to citizens even on the dark midnight. This is the country that has the longest written constitution in the world and stands upon the hope of every citizen of the country and makes sure that they will get justice whenever they seek justice, but Where are we in the present scenario? What’s the reason behind this degradation? Some of the problems what is lying in our system according to what I think and what my intellectuals reveal but before we look down to problems have some glimpse of the Indian Justice Report::
Why It is in the news
Recently, the India Justice Report (2019) prepared by the Tata Trusts in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has been released.
This is the first-ever ranking of Indian states on justice delivery.
The report has divided states on the basis of the population into two parts: The large-medium states (Population 1 crore and above)
The small states and Union Territories (Population less than 1 crore)
Tamil Naidu topped with a score of 6.49, while the U.P. was at the bottom with a score of
2.98 while Bihar got 3.77.
Kerala topped with a score of 7.18, while Jharkhand faced the worst with the score of 3.46, while Uttarakhand scores 3.72, Punjab 4.35 Andhra Pradesh 4.35, and UP with the score 4.42
Tamil Naidu topped with a score of 6.69 in this sector while Bihar was the worst performer in this sector with a mere score of 2.41, while UP scored 3.7, Karnataka scored 3.76 Uttarakhand 4.17, and Jharkhand with the score of 4.3 was the farer performer.
Kerala topped the list with a score of 6.58, UP fared the worst followed by Uttarakhand, Bihar, and Odisha.
Maharashtra has topped the list among large-medium States followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Haryana.
In this category, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom.
Goa leads the list of smaller states followed by Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
The report has been prepared based on publicly available data of different government entities on the four pillars of justice delivery — police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid.
Each pillar is analyzed through the prism of budgets, human resources, personnel workload, diversity, infrastructure, and five-year trends.
After analyzing all the data it is much evidence that the condition of our judiciary is growing up in a deteriorating condition which is posing a great threat to the principle of natural justice and a ray of hope which we could easily see in the eyes of a plaintiff or a person who is in need to seeks justice, and with hope, he moves towards the court with a view to challenge to each person and authority who poses threat to his legal rights. There are many reasons behind this the standstill condition of the Indian Judiciary, some of them which could easily be observed are as follows:
On average, the police have a vacancy of 23% (2017), and the judiciary between 20%-40% across the high courts and lower judiciary. Gujarat is the only state to reduce vacancies across all four pillars.
No State/ UT is able to meet all its diversity quotas (ST, SC, and OBC). Karnataka comes closest to achieve diversity quotas (missed its SC reservation target by 4%). Women are poorly represented across the Justice system. They account for 7% of the Police, 10 % of Prison staff, and about 26.5 % of all judges in the High Court and subordinate courts.
The Justice system is affected by low budget allocations. The per capita expenditure on legal aid is just 75 paise. Punjab is the only large state whose police, prison, and judiciary expenditures have increased at a pace higher than the increase in overall state expenditure.
Nationally, at the subordinate court level, on average a case remains pending for five years or more. Only six states i.e. Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Tripura, Odisha, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, and Manipur managed to clear as many court cases as were filed.
Prisons are over-occupied at 114%, where 68% are under trials awaiting investigation, inquiry, or trial.
Besides these reasons there are much more things which need to be tackled such as the no of working days in lower or upper courts, speedy trials, and the delayed and denied tactics of the lawyers, it doesn’t totally means to make them away from their rights but ahead of this we have to look forward to finding out what the best we can get from this there are many sectors in which are need to be focused some of the major steps which we can take to ensure speedy and fair trials are as follows:
Judiciary and the government needs to put collaborative effort to plug the gaps in the management of the police, prisons, forensics, and the filling up of vacancies.
The efficient Indian Justice System will ensure the implementation of Article 14 (Equality before law), Article 22(1)(Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases), Article 39(A) (Free legal aid for poor), and Article 21 (Right to protection of life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution. It will also ensure SDG(SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS) 16 which recognizes the need to ‘provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability. Articles 14 and Article 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before the law and a legal system that promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.
Written By: Harsh Mishra
LL.B.(HONS) 3RD SEMESTER UNIVERSITY OF LUCKNOW