Maharashtra was ranked first amongst 18 large states in terms of delivering justice.
In a first, Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy published a report ' India Justice Report (IJR) 2019'.
Maharashtra is followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana while among the smaller states, Goa topped the list followed by Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
Through a rigorous 18-month quantitative research, the India Justice Report ranked the states on the basis of justice delivery - police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.
These four pillars need to function harmoniously for citizens to be satisfied with justice delivery.
Each pillar was analysed through the prism of budgets, human resources, personnel workload, diversity, infrastructure and trends (intention to improve over a five-year period), against the state's own declared standards and benchmarks.
In this regard, the report assesses how all the 29 states and seven UTs have capacitated themselves and, out of them, ranks the 18 large and mid-sized and seven small states introducing a spirit of competitiveness.
However, the report also highlights stark conclusions, when aggregated for an all-India picture. Vacancy is an issue across the pillars of police, prisons and the judiciary, with only about half the states having made an effort to reduce these over a five-year period.
For instance, the country, as a whole, has about 18,200 judges with about 23 per cent sanctioned posts' vacant. Women are also poorly represented in these pillars, constituting just 7 per cent of the police, the report said.
"Prisons are over-occupied at 114 per cent, where 68 per cent are undertrials awaiting investigation, inquiry or trial. Regarding budgets, most states are not able to fully utilise the funds given to them by the Centre, while the increase in spending on the police, prisons and judiciary does not keep pace with the overall increase in state expenditure," it outlined.
Speaking at the launch, Justice (retd.) Madan B Lokur said: "This is a pioneering study, the findings of which establish beyond doubt very serious lacunae in our Justice delivery system. It is an excellent effort to mainstream the issues concerning our justice system, which in fact affect every aspect of society, governance and the economy."
"I fervently hope the judiciary and the government will take note of the significant findings, and the states too will act to urgently plug the gaps in the management of police, prisons, forensics, justice delivery, legal aid and filling up the vacancies," he added.
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