17 January, 2020

Karnataka ranked 6th in India’s first ever ranking on Justice delivery

Bengaluru, January 17, 2020: Karnataka ranked 6th in India’s first ever ranking of states on their capacity to deliver justice to citizens, according to the India Justice Report 2019, which was released in Bengaluru today. The report ranks Maharashtra at the top of the 18 Large and Mid-sized States (with population of over one crore each), followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. The list of seven Small States (population less than one crore each) was topped by Goa, followed by Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. Karnataka, though ranked 3rd and 6th in Prisons and Police respectively was brought down by its ranking in the Judiciary pillar, achieved an overall position of sixth.

The India Justice Report (IJR) 2019 is an initiative of Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS- Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

The launch of the report was preceded by a keynote address by retired Chief Justice of India, Shri M. N. Venkatachaliah, who said, “The fulfilment of our civilizational aspirations is contingent on laws that give effect to constitutional provisions, and the law-abiding spirit of citizens of the country. If a sizeable section of people lose faith in their governance structures and in the justice dispensation in society, a socially negative critical-mass occurs. The Report, therefore, has made a significant contribution to the study of the justice system in India. It is comprehensive and brings to light several systemic faults and shortcomings across various states”.

Speaking during a panel discussion, former judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice R. V. Raveendran put forth the view that the Justice system is the shared responsibility of all the four pillars and not just the judiciary. He also stated that, "Existing inefficiencies in the justice system are leading to people resorting to non-formal dispute resolution processes. Everyone other than those entrusted with dispute resolution is now settling matters. It is important to rectify such inefficiencies and ensure that justice is delivered in a speedy and cost effective manner, keeping in mind the principles of equity, and compassion.”

Mr. Harish Narasappa of DAKSH spoke of the problems of an ineffective Justice system and said, "The subordinate judiciary in India is reeling under the pressure of cases that have been pending for several years. The judiciary must leverage technology to develop better case management and listing practices. We must strive towards ameliorating the impact of failures in the justice system so that the constitutional vision of ensuring effective access to justice is realized."

Through a rigorous 18-month quantitative research, the India Justice Report brings together, in the first such exercise, otherwise siloed statistics, from authoritative government sources, on the four pillars of Justice delivery – Police, Judiciary, Prisons and Legal Aid. These four pillars have 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. Basis these filters, 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. It showcases the strengths and deficits in each State and UT, helping each to pinpoint interventions.

The Report also highlights stark conclusions, when aggregated for an all-India picture. Vacancy is an issue across the pillars of the 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% sanctioned posts vacant. Women are also poorly represented in these pillars, constituting just 7% of the Police. Prisons are over-occupied at 114%, where 68% 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 overall increase in State expenditure. Some pillars also remain affected by low budgets. India’s per capita spend on free legal aid—which 80% of the population is eligible for -- for instance is 75 paise per annum.

What the Report Found: Karnataka findings

Karnataka, which achieved an overall rank of 6 among the 18 large and mid-sized states also faced certain capacity deficits, particularly in the judiciary. Its overall score stood at 5.11, as against table topper Maharashtra’s which was 5.92.

  • With a 20.5% vacancy, 1 out of every 5 constable positions remained unfilled. Over a period of 5 years, vacancies showed an increasing trend. Nationally, the average constable vacancy stood at 21.2%
  • Only state to very nearly meet all of diversity quota for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Share of women in police was at 5.4%, while share of women among officers was 4%. Over 5 years, improvements in this field was sluggish. Nationally, women account for 7.2% of the police force, and 5.5% of all police officers.
  • Only 27% of its police modernisation fund had been used.
  • 1 out of 4 officer-level posts remain vacant, while 56% medical staff posts remained unfilled. The national average for medical staff vacancy stands at 38.5%.
  • At 19%, the state had the highest representation of women in prison staff among states with a large population size. This was nearly twice the national average of 10%.
  • With 1 out of 3 correctional staff posts unfilled, one correctional officer looks after nearly 7,500 inmates. The national average vacancy of correctional staff stands at nearly 40%,
  • Increase in share of undertrial prisoners in prisons over a period of 5 years
  • 1 in 2 sanctioned posts of High Court judges lying vacant. This was higher than the national average vacancy of 42%. Over a 5 year period, vacancies at this level displayed an increasing trend.
  • Only 1 out of 10 judges in the High Court were women.
  • Cases remain pending in the High Court for an average of 4 years
  • The average increase in judiciary expenditure trailed the average increase in state expenditure, demonstrating state priority.
Legal Aid:
  • Utilised less than 80% of the funds given by NALSA for legal aid activities, awareness and advice.
  • Nearly 1 out of 3 panel lawyers was a woman. This was higher than the national average of 18% women panel lawyers.
  • Each legal services clinic serves a cluster of 186 villages, on average. Nationally, this figure stands at 42 villages per legal services clinic.
  • State Lok Adalats unable to efficiently dispose of pre-litigation cases

National Main Findings

Nationally, high vacancies in the justice system; 22% in the Police (1st Jan 2017), 33% - 38.5% in Prisons (31st Dec 2016) and in the Judiciary 20% - 40% (2016-17)

Over five years, Gujarat was the only State to reduce vacancies across all posts across the Police, Prisons and Judiciary. Jharkhand saw an increase in the same posts over five years (CY 2012-2016 for Police and Prisons, and CY 2013-2017 for Judiciary)

No State/ UT is able to meet all its diversity quotas (ST, SC and OBC); Karnataka comes closest -- having met its ST and OBC reservations, and missing its SC reservation target by four per cent

Women are poorly represented across the Justice system. They account for seven per cent of the Police (2017), 10% of Prison staff (2016) and about 26.5% of all judges in the High Court and subordinate courts (2017-18)

The average area covered per rural Police station in 28 States and UTs, exceeded 150 sq. km, a benchmark given in 1981 by the National Police Commission. Legal services clinics, created for easily accessible Legal Aid and assistance, served 42 villages on average, nationally (2017-18)

The Justice system is affected by low budget allocations. The per capita spend on Legal Aid was just 75 p (2017-18). Punjab was the only Large state whose Police, Prison and Judiciary expenditures were able to increase at a pace higher than the increase in overall state expenditure (FY 2012-2016)

As of 2016-17, 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. As on August 2018, Bihar, UP, WB, Odisha, Gujarat, Meghalaya and A&N Islands, had nearly one in four cases pending for more than five years

Undertrial prisoners, awaiting investigation, inquiry or trial, account for 68% of the inmate population (Dec 2016). In 33 States and UTs, the share of undertrial inmates was above 50 per cent (Dec 2016). Over five years, only 13 States and UTs were able to annually reduce this population.

Nationally, as of March 2018, there is a shortage of 4,071 court halls against the sanctioned number of judges.
On average, there’s only one correctional staff for every two prisons with only 621 correctional staff across 1412 prisons (31st Dec 2016)

The Report found that across States there are massive shortfalls in all the four key pillars:

The Report found that across States there are massive shortfalls in all the four key pillars:

Number of States and UTs where women account for more than 10% of the Police force. 8
Number of States/UTs that filled at least 80% of posts reserved for SC, ST and OBC officers 2
Number of States/UTs that used all the money allocated to them by the Centre for the purpose of modernising their force 1
Average vacancy across police staff categories in States 22%
Number of States/UTs that have reduced vacancies at both constable and officer levels over a five-year period. 10
Number of States/ UTs in which vacancy at the officer level exceeds 20% 24
Number of States/UTs in which vacancy at the cadre level exceeds 20% 20
Number of inmates handled by the one sanctioned correctional staff in UP 95,366
Number of States/ UTs where Prison occupancy exceeds 100% 19
Number of States/ UTs where share of women in Prison staff is below 10% 17
Legal Aid:  
The number of States which used their full budget allocation from NALSA 0
Number of States/ UTs whose contribution to their Legal Aid budget was more than 50%. 16
Number of States/ UTs where the share of women among panel lawyers is above 20%. 20
Number of States and union territories where the average number of villages covered by a Legal Aid clinic is less than six. 6
The average number of villages serviced by a Legal Aid clinic in Uttar Pradesh. 1603
Number of High Courts where judge vacancy is below 20% (Sikkim) 1
Number of subordinate courts where judge vacancy is below 20% 16
Number of States that currently have a shortage in court halls against sanctioned judges 24
Share of cases in Bihar subordinate courts that have been pending for above five years 39.5%
Number of States that had a case clearance rate above 100% in both High Court and subordinate court levels (Odisha and Tripura) 2

The India Justice Report evidences such gaps and deficits at the level of each State and UT, allowing perusers to realise the urgency needed in repairing the system. This will allow duty holders and policymakers to identify where weaknesses are and undertake appropriate interventions with ease, working towards improving the overall capacity of the Justice system to deliver to all citizens.

Note to editors:

The India Justice Report 2019, states factsheets and an interactive web output will be available at www.tatatrusts.org

The Report was careful to use only the latest government data, available for each sub-system at the time of printing. To this extent, the sources used across pillars were numerous. Data on Police and Prisons for States and UTs was drawn from the reports of national data collation agencies such as the Data on Police Organisation (as of 1st January 2017) published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), and the Prison Statistics India (31st December 2016) of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) respectively. For the Judiciary, the IJR drew information from the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), Court News, Supreme Court of India; eCourts Services; Websites of High Courts, and applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act filed by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. It uses data from 2016–2017, 2017 and 2018. For Legal Aid, data was provided by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and pertains to 2017–2018 and January 2019. For data on budgets, the Report referred to Comptroller and Auditor General reports for 2015–2016.

For further details, please contact:

Bob John
Tata Trusts
Email: bjohn@tatatrusts.org
Mobile: +91 7506366446

Valay Singh
Tata Trusts
Email: valaysingh@tatatrusts.org
Mobile: +91 9717676026

Nikita Crasta
Adfactors PR
Email: Nikita.Crasta@adfactorspr.com
Mobile: +91 9821071527