January 29, 2021 3:49:53 am
Maharashtra was ranked topmost among 18 states for the second time in a row in a survey titled ‘India Justice Report’, which tracks the criminal justice system through police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid. For the report, an analysis was conducted of available budgets, vacancies in different departments, representation of women, members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, among other parameters.
Maharashtra scored an overall 5.77 points out of 10, marginally lower than last year’s 5.92. The state, however, retained the top rank ahead of Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
The state ranked first in legal aid, improved from fifth last year, with being one of the states with the most number of settled cases and most number of women among lawyers on the legal aid panel.
When it comes to judiciary, the state went down from last year’s first rank to fifth this year, as the number of total pending cases in subordinate courts have increased while vacancies in High Court have also remained.
The state’s ranking fell most in the police category, from fourth last year to 13th. The report states that one of the main reasons for the ranking to come down was the state’s poor utilisation of a modernisation fund.
The report states that with regard to vacancies, while posts of judges in High Court, subordinate courts and court staff were filled, vacancies among police constables and officers increased. Similarly, there is more representation of women among police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid overall, but the representation reduced among police officers as compared to last year. The share of woman judges in the High Court is 13.4 per cent and 28.4 per cent in subordinate courts. As of December 2019, the state also had one of the highest number of undertrials at 75 per cent.
While the report, an initiative of Tata Trusts, along with organisations including Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, CHRI, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, has also considered some data from the pandemic year, the analyses is based on previous data. “Justice reform is essential and unless it is taken up on a war footing, the problems encountered during the pandemic and most of the year gone by will only intensify to the detriment of human rights, civil liberties and meaningful justice delivery,” Justice (retired) Madan Lokur is quoted in the report as saying.
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