Women constitute a small fraction of the justice delivery system in the government. There are 10 percent of women functionaries in prison, seven percent in police force, and around 26.5 percent in the judiciary, according to the India Justice Report 2019.
The report has been published by Tata Trust, along with sectoral expert groups such as Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, Tata Institute of Social Sciences - Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
It stated that most states in India will take decades to achieve a mere 33 percent women participation in their judiciary system, provided that the representation increases by an additional one percent every year.
Women in the justice system
To measure the capacity to deliver justice by respective states, the report looked at the four pillars of the justice system – police, prison, legal aid, and the judiciary. Each pillar was assessed in two categories of 18 large and medium states and seven small states.
Among the 18 larger states, Tamil Nadu scored highest in terms of women in police (6.49 out of 10) and judiciary (6.99). At the same time, its neighbouring state Kerala had the most women workforce in prison (7.18) and legal aid (6.58).
Goa topped the charts in including women in legal aid (5.47) and prison (5.300 among the seven smaller states. On the other hand, Sikkim ranked highest when it came to women in police (5.66) and judiciary (5.36).
However, the study pointed out that most states are struggling with of acute shortage of manpower, resource misallocation, financial shortfall, and structural inadequacies, and that justice is not accessible to most.
Walking closer to access to justice
Over the years, India has had a poor reputation when it comes to women safety. In a NetApp survey, with one lakh women participants, 80 percent of respondents expressed concerns over the lack of government attention on ensuring safe spaces for women.
The justice report also stated that its purpose was to attract attention to two important areas of access to justice, and the health of institutions responsible for justice delivery.
Emphasising that the ‘whole system needs repair’, it also shared ways to correct the balance and make the justice system diverse.
This included making the system more transparent, ensuring budget allocation to every segment, and make justice services more accessible for the public, among others.