Karnataka ranks sixth in justice delivery: report

Report based on performance of four pillars – police, prisons, judiciary, and access to legal aid

Karnataka ranked sixth in the country’s first-ever ranking on justice delivery, “India Justice Report 2019” supported by Tata Trusts.

Daksh, a city-based organisation working on research in judiciary, a partner with Tata Trusts in bringing out the report, released the Karnataka scorecard in the city on Friday. The report evaluates justice delivery as a function of performance of four pillars — police, prisons, judiciary, and access to legal aid over the last five years.

Karnataka ranks third in prisons and sixth in police. But it ranks 16th in judiciary and seventh in legal aid, bringing down the overall ranking to six, among 18 large and medium States. Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Haryana rank ahead of the State in that order. Each of these pillars are evaluated on six parameters including budgets, human resources, diversity, infrastructure, workload, and trends over the last five years. Non-utilisation of funds, vacancies and lack of infrastructure in rural areas, that have emerged as trends across the country, ails the State as well.

The judiciary in Karnataka ranks 16 among 18 medium and large States. On a score of 10, Karnataka is 3.76. On the performance of judiciary, only Bihar and Uttar Pradesh rank below the State. The report finds the Karnataka High Court functioning at half its sanctioned capacity, as on 2016-17, the data considered for the report. It also finds that “over five years, vacancies and cases pending at both High Court and subordinate court increased even as case clearance rates fell.” The State fared poorly in coverage of legal service clinics across villages and jails.

Responding to the report, Justice R.V. Raveendran, former Supreme Court judge, said while the report had done a good job in data collection, he said the ranking could not be done based on the limited criteria considered. “Karnataka judiciary is one of the best in the country. And a ranking of 16 among 18 States does not reflect the reality. Vacancies in the High Court may have led to drop in ranking, but people will take it as a larger reflection of the State of judiciary and its integrity,” he said.

On policing, it notes that one out of five constable posts were vacant and the vacancies have only been increasing over the last five years. Only 27% of the police modernisation funds had been used in 2016-17, the last available data. The bright spot in police performance has been that it is the only State to have nearly met all its diversity targets, except gender. As against a declared target of 20% women composition of the force, the State has been lagging in the last five years, the report said. The State may rank third in prisons, but only two of three correctional staff positions had been filled and one correctional officer looked after 7,500 inmates, the report found.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:04:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-ranks-sixth-in-justice-delivery/article30588871.ece

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