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The report said that in the list of seven small states, with a population less than one crore each, Sikkim is at the top followed by Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura is at rank three
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Karnataka ranks at the top of the 18 large and mid-sized Indian states, with a population of over one crore each, in justice delivery –police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid — in the country, as per the India Justice Report (IJR) 2022.
However, the latest data also indicated that as of December 2022, India had 19 judges per million population, a backlog of 4.8 crore cases, and prisons were over-occupied at over 130 per cent, more than two-thirds of the prisoners (77.1 percent) are undertrials, and vacancy among high court judges is at 30 percent.
According to the India Justice Report (IJR) 2022, which ranks states on delivery of justice in the country, Karnataka is at the top followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is at rank 18 which is the lowest, as per the report released here on Tuesday.
The report said that in the list of seven small states, with a population less than one crore each, Sikkim is at the top followed by Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura is at rank three and Goa is at rank seven.
The report has tracked the performance of states in capacitating their justice delivery structures to effectively deliver mandated services and based on latest official statistics, from authoritative government sources, it brought together otherwise siloed data on the four pillars of justice delivery – police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid.
Each pillar was analysed through the prism of budgets, human resources, workload, diversity, infrastructure, and trends (intention to improve over a five-year period), against the state’s own declared standards and benchmarks. The IJR also separately assessed the capacity of the 25 state human rights commissions. The report stressed that vacancy is an issue across police, prison staff, legal aid, and the judiciary.
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It further added that for 1.4 billion people, India has about 20,076 judges with about 22 per cent sanctioned posts vacant and vacancy among high court judges is at 30 per cent.
It said that as of December 2022, India had 19 judges per million population when calculated against the sanctioned strength, and a backlog of 4.8 crore cases. The Law Commission had desired, as early as 1987, it should be 50 judges per million in a decade’s time from then, it added.
The report said prisons are over-occupied at over 130 per cent and more than two-thirds of the prisoners (77.1 per cent) are awaiting the completion of investigation or trial. It further added that in the police, women are only about 11.75 per cent, despite their numbers doubling in the last decade and about 29 per cent of the officer positions are vacant. The police to population ratio is 152.8 per lakh, whereas the international standard is 222.
According to the report, most states have not fully utilised funds given to them by the Centre and their own increase in spending on the police, prisons, and judiciary has not kept pace with overall increase in state expenditure.
It added that the justice system as a whole remains affected by low budgets and India’s per capita spend on free legal aid – which 80 per cent of the population is eligible for – is a meagre Rs 3.87 per annum. Except for two Union Territories, Delhi and Chandigarh, no state spends more than 1 per cent of its total annual expenditure on the judiciary, said the report.
The IJR was initiated by Tata Trusts in 2019, and this is the third edition. Partners include Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and How India Lives, IJR’s data partner.
The report is based on 24-month quantitative research and the IJR 2022, like the previous two, has tracked the performance of states in capacitating their justice delivery structures to effectively deliver mandated services.