The Indian constitution promises its citizens freedom and equality along with social, economic, and political justice. However, based on the country’s progression since 1947, and compounded by several other quantitative indicators such as the order and security index, it is evident, that the need for political and judicial reform is pressing. The delivery of justice to the people of India is absent. The most vulnerable groups that are faced with oppression, indignity and injustice are those that live in the lesser developed areas of the country, specifically, marginalized groups and those that live below the poverty line. Social evils that contribute to injustice that are still rampant across the country are corruption, poverty, hunger and mainly misgovernance. This is apparent in the form of political unrest, division caused by discrimination on religious lines, and external threat on the country’s border. The Indian justice system is based on four pillars, prisons, police, judiciary and legal aid:
Prisons in India fall under the domain of the state government. The central government supports and assists the state government on issues related to prison security. Prison spending per capita in India is meagre compared to other countries. Prison establishments exist on three levels, namely, the sub-district or Taluka, the district level and the central level. Other prison establishments include women jails, open jails with lenient restrictions, special jails and Borstal schools, also commonly referred to as youth detention centers for rehabilitation of younger offenders.
Police services account for approximately three percent of total government spending. The state police are mainly accountable for maintaining law and order within the respective state, the central police forces provide support to the state police related to intelligence and internal security such as insurgencies.
Since the mid-19th century, the Indian judiciary predominantly retained most of its characteristics from an inherited British colonial rule with very few amendments. It falls under the management of judicial service officers. This alludes primarily to district, subordinate, high court and supreme court judges. The supreme court is the apex court with the last court of appeals in India.
A crucial characteristic of the Indian constitution is the promise of securing justice among the people of India through providing free legal aid, especially to those that belong to the socio-economically weaker sections of society, including women in judicial proceedings or tribunals. The intent was to provide universal access to support those citizens who are unable to exercise their rights given to them by law. India’s current regime, led by Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have increasingly become notorious for their widespread practice of prosecuting outspoken human rights supporters, journalists leaning toward the opposition, and environmental activists for criticizing government officials. The most recent case highlighting this involved a 22 year-old climate activist, Disha Ravi and her arrest in February 2021 for supposedly sharing a protest “toolkit” related to the Indian farmers’ protests on her Twitter feed. The arrest, allegedly based on conjectures, gained international criticism and subsequently, Ravi was granted bail. Despite India’s resurgent political plight and urgency for morality and change in the system, the country has seen certain semblances of restoration of order and justice to its people.
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