Sunday, July 10, 2011

India performs poorer than China on various dimensions of Rule of Law Index

Much has been debated about the state of corruption, governance and lawlessness in India since the draft Jan Lokpal Bill was proposed by Anna Hazare and his team during April, 2011. However, a new index named Rule of Law Index™ 2011, released in June, which has been prepared by the World Justice Project, quantifies and allows one to compare the ‘rule of law’ situation existing in India with other countries. Rule of law here, in short, refers to a rules-based system in which government and its officials are accountable, laws are clear and fundamental rights are protected, a fair and accessible legal system and access to justice is provided by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators.

According to the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index™ 2011 report, globally, India ranks 24 out of 66 in terms of providing protection of free speech and it ranks 25th in terms of an independent judiciary. In terms of ‘open government’, it ranks 25th. The civil court system in India ranks 48 out of 66 because of deficiencies in access to justice. In terms of ‘absence of corruption’, India's global ranking is 51. The report mentions that ‘order and security’ is a concern in India since its ranking in this regard is 65 out of 66. The index, which may serve the interest of policymakers, researchers and scholars, examines practical situations in which a rule of law deficit may affect the daily lives of ordinary citizens.

Among the lower middle income countries, India ranks 2 out of 16 (China ranks 7th and Pakistan ranks 14th) in terms of Limited Government Powers; India ranks 10 out of 16 (China ranks 3rd and Pakistan ranks 16th) in terms of Absence of Corruption; India ranks 15 out of 16 (China ranks 2nd and Pakistan ranks 16th) in terms of Order and Security; India ranks 5 out of 16 (China ranks 15th and Pakistan ranks 16th) in terms of Fundamental rights; India ranks 1 out of 16 (China ranks 2nd and Pakistan ranks 16th) in terms of Open Government; India ranks 11 out of 16 (China ranks 6th and Pakistan ranks 15th) in terms of Regulatory Enforcement; India ranks 8 out of 16 (China ranks 6th and Pakistan ranks 16th) in terms of Access to civil justice; and, India ranks 6 out of 16 (China ranks 2nd and Pakistan ranks 15th) in terms of Effective criminal justice.    

The Rule of Law index is an innovative quantitative assessment tool so as to get a comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. Presently 66 countries have been covered for preparing the index.

The newly released Rule of Law Index™ 2011 shows that countries in Western Europe and North America are characterized by relatively low levels of corruption, open and accountable governments, and effective criminal justice systems. For the marginalized segments of the population in Western Europe and North America, accessibility of the civil justice system is a major problem. Countries like Austria, Canada, the United States and Norway rank 26th, 22nd, 21st and 20th, respectively in terms of access to legal counsel. Police discrimination against foreigners and ethnic minorities remains an important issue in most countries from this region.

The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index™ 2011 provides new data on nine dimensions of the rule of law prevailing in a country: Limited government powers, Absence of corruption, Order and security, Fundamental rights, Open government, Regulatory enforcement, Access to civil justice, Effective criminal justice and Informal justice. The index comprises more than 400 different variables, organized into nine factors and 52 subfactors. These variables are aggregated and compiled into numerical scores.

The factor-'Limited government powers' measures the effective limitation of government powers in the fundamental law; institutional checks on government power by the legislature, the judiciary and independent auditing and review agencies; effective sanctions for misconduct of government officers and agents in all branches of government; non-governmental checks on government power; and whether transfers of power occur in accordance with the law.

The factor-'Absence of corruption' considers three forms of corruption: bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources.

The third factor-'Order and security' encompasses three dimensions: absence of crime; absence of civil conflict, including terrorism and armed conflict; and absence of violence as a socially acceptable means to redress personal grievances.

The factor-'Fundamental rights' measures protection of fundamental human rights.

The factor-'Open government' includes at its core the opportunity to know what the law is and what conduct is permitted and prohibited.

The sixth factor-'Regulatory enforcement' assesses how well regulations are implemented and enforced. This includes the absence of improper influence by public officials or private interests; adherence to administrative procedures that are fair, consistent, and predictable; and freedom from government taking of private property without adequate compensation.

The factor-'Access to civil justice' requires that the system be affordable, effective, impartial, and culturally competent. Accessibility includes general awareness of available remedies; availability and affordability of legal advice and representation; and absence of excessive or unreasonable fees, procedural hurdles, and other barriers to access to formal dispute resolution systems. Access to justice also requires fair and effective enforcement.

The factor-'Effective criminal justice' means systems are capable of investigating and adjudicating criminal offences impartially and effectively, while ensuring that the rights of suspects and victims are protected.

The factor-'Informal Justice' concerns the role played in many countries by “informal” systems of law – including traditional, tribal, and religious courts, as well as community based systems – in resolving disputes. These systems often play a large role in cultures in which formal legal institutions fail to provide effective remedies for large segments of the population.


The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index™ 2011

Why civil society is right to up the ante on corruption by Mythili Bhusnurmath, The Economic Times, 4 July, 2011,

World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Ranks 66 Countries on Government, Rights by Andrea Stone, The Huffington Post, 12 June, 2011,

Rule-of-Law Index Scores Pakistan Poorly by Tripti Lahiri, The Wall Street Journal, 4 July, 2011,

Sweden scores highest in 'Rule of law index'by Johan Nylander, The Swedish Wire, 13 June, 2011,    

Rule of law index finds faults in China, Russia, US,

Ex-prosecutor says tax-evading Americans turn to Asia, Reuters, 26 April, 2011

1 comment:

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    The entries that I read were related to farm issues.

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