The justice delivery system is best in Maharashtra and worst in Uttar Pradesh, according to a report released by Tata Trusts on January 28.
The second edition of the India Justice Report (IJR) also found that women comprised only 29 percent of judges in India.
It said Telangana has the highest share of women judges at 46.2 percent, while Jharkhand has the lowest at 12.1 percent in subordinate courts. Five states, it said, did not have a single woman judge in their high courts as of August 2020.
IJR is an initiative of Tata Trusts in collaboration with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS–Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and How India Lives.
Among other findings, two-thirds of the country’s inmates are undertrials. Also, in the last 25 years, only 1.5 crore people have received legal aid, though 80 percent of the country’s population is entitled to, the report said.
It said only 60 percent of the country's jails had video conferencing facilities before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
“While ranking states, the report does not play up one state against another—it merely highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each pillar in each state thereby encouraging internal assessments for introducing positive changes in the delivery of justice,” Justice (retd) Madan B Lokur said at the virtual launch of the report.
The report was compiled after looking at data indicators from the four pillars —judiciary, police, prisons and legal aid to assess the capacity of 29 states and seven UTs to deliver justice.
Among 18 large and mid-sized states with population of over one crore each, Maharashtra was ranked at the top and UP at the bottom in justice delivery system. The ranks of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have remained unchanged from last IJR released in 2019.
In the small states, with less than one crore population, Tripura has best justice delivery system and Megahlaya the worst, the report said.
"The India Justice Reports of 2019 and now 2020 make a significant contribution to laying the evidence base for policymakers and civil society to initiate early improvements for the benefit of us all," said N Srinath, CEO of Tata Trusts.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog said justice delivery is an underlying essential service upon which rests the success of other development goals.
“At NITI Aayog we have been striving to foster wider discussions on improving overall justice delivery. The IJR 2020 will help the states to identify areas of immediate improvement and the rankings will hopefully give them an incentive to do better," he said.