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Understanding Budgets for Law and Justice
#1 Understanding Law and Justice Budgets with Daksh, 20th January 2022.
Ahead of the Union Budget 2022, Justice Hub and Civis have come together to host a series of discussions (every Thursday, 5 pm) to navigate the law and justice budgets in India. The first session was with Surya Prakash and Smita Mutt from DAKSH India. Here are some key takeaways.
What should we look for in the budget documents to understand the capacity of the law and justice sector in India?
There are mainly three areas of budgetary allocations that we should be looking for in a budget document :
Infrastructure and accessibility, for example, provisions for courts complexes such as have ramps, signages for easy navigation, etc ;
Human resources, for example, looking at line items that account for the salaries and allowances of judges, support staff etc. ;
Capacity building, for example, through training programs or establishment of institutions such as the International Arbitration Centre, National Judicial Academy, etc.
What are some challenges of analysing budgets for law and justice?
Lack of clarity as to what and how to measure the budget: should it be input-based (for example, how much funds are allocated) or output-based or even outcome-based.
Lack of a metric to evaluate the connection between budgets and the performance of different institutions like courts, especially since there are several other allied institutions that are critical to their functioning.
How are budgets allocated for Judiciary at the Union/State levels?
The share of the judiciary in the Union budget is only about 0.08%.
92% of the Indian judiciary’s financial needs are met at the state level.
Budget priorities for the judiciary differ by state: for example, Uttar Pradesh spends 0.9% of its state budget on the judiciary as compared to 0.33% by West Bengal.
The 13th Financial Commission had allocated 5000 crores to the judiciary out of which only 1000 crores were actually spent, leading to the revisiting of the whole budgeting process.
The 14th Finance Commission increased allocation for the states and entrusted its expenditure to their discretion.
The closing words during the session stressed the importance of citizenship awareness and ensuring that “Your Voice in a democracy is serving a purpose.” To bring about systemic change, it is imperative to build awareness and a community of people who are interested in actively engaging with and understanding law and justice budgets.
Find the recording of the complete conversation here.
Read previous Substack posts here.
Learn more about Budgets for Justice and analyze budget data on Justice Hub.
Mark your calendars for the next conversation on Police Budgets with Artha Global.
Date: January 27th, at 5 PM
Venue: On Twitter Spaces here.