Maharashtra has topped the list of states in delivering justice to people followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab and Kerala in the year 2000, according to a report by Tata Trusts.
Among the small states (where the population is less than one crore each), Tripura has topped the list followed by Sikkim and Goa, it said.
The second edition of the India Justice Report is based on publicly available data of different government entities on the four pillars of justice delivery -- police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.
The ranking is an initiative of Tata Trust in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS–Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and How India Lives.
The report said that women comprise only 29 per cent of judges in India and on average, the share of women judges in the High Courts increased marginally from 11 per cent to 13 per cent, while in subordinate courts it increased from 28 per cent to 30 per cent
Former Supreme Court judge Justice M B Lokur, who wrote the foreword of the report, said a major area of concern has been the number of pending cases in the courts which has spiralled out of control despite considerably fewer cases being filed due to the pandemic.
"At the time of writing, the National Judicial Data Grid indicates more than 35.34 million cases pending in the district courts across the country. Add to these another 4.74 million cases in all the High Courts and we arrive at an extremely disconcerting figure of more than 40 million cases pending in courts across the country," Justice Lokur said.
The former top court judge said 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.
With regard to prisons, the report stated that average spend per prisoner has gone up by nearly 45 per cent with Andhra Pradesh recording the highest annual spend at Rs. 2,00,871 while Meghalaya spending the least at Rs. 11,046 per inmate.
The report, in order to assess the capacity of states to deliver justice, looked at data indicators from the four pillars —judiciary, police, prisons and legal aid.
The ranking is based on quantitative measurements of budgets, human resources, infrastructure, workload, diversity across police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid in 18 large and medium-sized states with a population of over 1 crore and seven small states.