Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 10 May 2022
- India’s judiciary and the slackening cog of trust
- This is how poverty in rural India came down
India’s Judiciary and the Slackening Cog of Trust
Departures from substantive and procedural justice need deep scrutiny as the fallout could severely imperil governance.
GS-II: Separation of Powers between various organs Dispute Redressal Mechanisms and Institutions.
Dimensions of the Article
- Judicial Corruption in India in Lower Judiciary
- Forms of Judicial Corruption
- Case Pendency
- Understanding the Substantive and Procedural Justice
- Way Forward
Judicial Corruption in India in Lower Judiciary
- According to Transparency International (TI 2011), 45% of people who had come in contact with the judiciary between July 2009 and July 2010 had paid a bribe to the judiciary.
- The most common reason for paying the bribes was to “speed things up”.
- The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (April 2013) estimates that for every ₹2 in official court fees, at least ₹ 1,000 is spent in bribes in bringing a petition to the court.
- Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World 2016 report for India’ states that “the lower levels of the judiciary in particular have been rife with corruption” (Freedom House 2016).
- Allegations of corruption against High Court judges abound.
- Worse, there are glaring examples of anti-Muslim bias, often followed by extra-judicial killings by the police.
- Anti-Muslim bias alone may not result in erosion of trust but if combined with unprovoked and brutal violence against them (e.g., lynching of innocent cattle traders) is bound to.
Forms of Judicial Corruption
- Pressure and bribery: Judicial corruption takes two forms: political interference in the judicial process by the legislative or executive branch, and bribery.
- Despite the accumulation of evidence on corrupt practices, the pressure to rule in favour of political interests remains intense.
- Court officials coax bribes for free services, and lawyers charge additional “fees” to expedite or delay cases.
- According to the National Judicial Data Grid, as of April 12, 2017, there are 24,186,566 pending cases in India’s district courts, of which 2,317,448 (9.58%) have been pending for over 10 years, and 3,975,717 (16.44%) have been pending for between five and 10 years.
- Vacancies: As of December 31, 2015, there were 4,432 vacancies in the posts of [subordinate court] judicial officers, representing about 22% of the sanctioned strength.
- In the case of the High Courts, 458 of the 1,079 posts, representing 42% of the sanctioned strength, were vacant as of June 2016.
- Thus, severe backlogging and understaffing persisted, as also archaic and complex procedures of delivery of justice.
Understanding the Substantive and Procedural Justice
- Substantive justice is associated with whether the statutes, case law and unwritten legal principles are morally justified e.g., freedom to pursue any religion,
- Procedural justice is associated with fair and impartial decision procedures.
- Outdated laws: Many outdated/dysfunctional laws or statutes have not been repealed because of the tardiness of legal reform both at the Union and State government levels.
- Worse, there have been blatant violations of constitutional provisions.
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (December 2019) provides citizenship to — except Muslims — Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.
- But this goes against secularism and is thus a violation of substantive justice.
- Alongside procedural delays, endemic corruption and mounting shares of under-trial inmates with durations of three to five years point to stark failures of procedural justice and to some extent of substantive justice.
Exercise of extra-constitutional authority by the central and State governments, weakening of accountability mechanisms, widespread corruption in the lower judiciary and the police, with likely collusion between them, the perverted beliefs of the latter towards Muslims, other minorities and lower caste Hindus, a proclivity to deliver instant justice, extra-judicial killings, filing FIRs against innocent victims of mob lynching have left deep scars on the national psyche.
Source – The Hindu
This is How Poverty in Rural India Came Down
A recent World Bank Report has shown that extreme poverty in India more than halved between 2011 and 2019 – from 22.5 per cent to 10.2 per cent. The reduction was higher in rural areas, from 26.3 per cent to 11.6 per cent.
GS-III: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Dimensions of the Article
- What explains the reduction in poverty?
- Contributing Factors
- Way Forward
What explains the reduction in poverty?
- Poverty has reduced significantly because of the government’s thrust on improving the ease of living of ordinary Indians through schemes.
- These schemes include the Ujjwala Yojana, PM Awas Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, Jan Dhan and Mission Indradhanush in addition to the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission and improved coverage under the National Food Security Act.
- It is important to understand how poverty in rural areas was reduced at a faster pace.
- Much of the success can be credited to all government departments, especially their janbhagidari-based thrust on pro-poor public welfare.
Identification of beneficiaries through SECC 2011
- The identification of deprived households on the basis of the Socioeconomic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 across welfare programmes helped in creating a constituency for the well-being of the poor, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
- Deprivation criterion: Since deprivation was the key criterion in identifying beneficiaries, SC and ST communities got higher coverage and the erstwhile backward regions in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan and rural Maharashtra got a larger share of the benefits.
- Gram Sabha Validation: Social groups that often used to be left out of government programmes were included and gram sabha validation was taken to ensure that the project reached these groups.
Widened coverage of women
- The coverage of women under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana and Self Help Groups (SHG) increased from 2.5 crore in 2014 to over 8 crore in 2018 as a result of more than 75 lakh SHGs working closely with over 31 lakh elected panchayati raj representatives, 40 per cent of whom are women.
- This provided a robust framework to connect with communities and created a social capital that helped every programme.
- The PRI-SHG partnership catalyzed changes that increased the pace of poverty reduction and the use of Aadhaar cleaned up corruption at several levels and ensured that the funds reached those whom it was meant for.
Creation of basic infrastructure
- Finance Commission transfers were made directly to gram panchayats leading to the creation of basic infrastructure like pucca village roads and drains at a much faster pace in rural areas.
- The high speed of road construction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadhak Yojana created greater opportunities for employment in nearby larger villages/census towns/kasbas by improving connectivity and enhancing mobility.
Availability of credit through SHGs
- The social capital of SHGs ensured the availability of credit through banks, micro-finance institutions and MUDRA loans.
- Livelihood diversification: The NRLM prioritized livelihood diversification and implemented detailed plans for credit disbursement.
Implementation of social sector schemes
- In the two phases of the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in 2018, benefits such as gas and electricity connections, LED bulbs, accident insurance, life insurance, bank accounts and immunisation were provided to 63974 villages that were selected because of their high SC and ST populations.
- The performance of line departments went up manifold due to community-led action.
- The gains are reflected in the findings of the National Family Health Survey V, 2019-2021.
Universal coverage schemes
- The thrust on universal coverage for individual household latrines, LPG connections and pucca houses for those who lived in kuccha houses ensured that no one was left behind. This created the Labarthi Varg.
Increase in fund transfer to rural area
- Seventh, this was also a period in which a high amount of public funds were transferred to rural areas, including from the share of states and, in some programmes, through extra-budgetary resources.
- The thrust on a people’s plan campaign, “Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas” for preparing the Gram Panchayat Development Plans and for ranking villages and panchayats on human development, economic activity and infrastructure, from 2017-18 onwards, laid the foundation for robust community participation involving panchayats and SHGs, especially in ensuring accountability.
Social and concurrent audit
- Through processes like social and concurrent audits, efforts were made to ensure that resources were fully utilised.
- Several changes were brought about in programmes like the MGNREGS to create durable and productive assets.
Focus of states on improving livelihood diversification
- The competition among states to improve performance on rural development helped.
- Irrespective of the party in power, nearly all states and UTs focussed on improving livelihood diversification in rural areas and on improving infrastructure significantly.
All these factors contributed to improved ease of living of deprived households and improving their asset base. A lot has been achieved, much remains to be done.
Source – The Indian Express