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Rule of Law index

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Rule of Law index

Why in News?

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct the government to setup expert panels to boost India’s prospects in the Rule of Law Index.

What has the petitioner demanded?

A direction to the government to constitute expert committees to examine the best practices of the countries ranked among top 20 in Rule of Law Index-2020 and accordingly take steps to improve the “pathetic ranking” of India.

 And why these demands have been made?

On March 11, the World Justice Project announced the Rule of Law Index and ranked India in the 69th position.

  • India has never been ranked even among top 50 in the Index, but successive governments did nothing to improve international ranking of India.
  • The nation’s ranking in the Index “confirms poor performance in eight sectors, constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, public order and security, regulatory enforcement and civil and criminal justice”.
  • Besides, poor rule of law has a devastating effect on right to life, liberty, economic justice, fraternity, individual dignity and national integration.
  • It also offends rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21.

What has the Court said?

This was not an “appropriate case” for the court and a representation to this effect can be made to the government for taking action.

This petition may be treated as representation by the respondents for such appropriate actions as may be found appropriate, which may be decided within a period of six months.


Additional information:

What is Rule of Law index?

Released by the World Justice Project- an independent organisation.

It is a quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice.

The index covers 128 countries.

How are countries ranked?

It measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors:

(1) Constraints on Government Powers, (2) Absence of Corruption, (3) Open Government, (4) Fundamental Rights, (5) Order and Security, (6) Regulatory Enforcement, (7) Civil Justice, and (8) Criminal Justice.

How is rule of law defined?

The World Justice Project defines the rule of law system as one in which the following four universal principles are upheld:

  1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law.
  2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable and fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
  3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, efficient, and fair.
  4. Justice is delivered by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.


Prelims Link:

  1. Who releases the Rule of Law index?
  2. Factors on which countries are ranked?
  3. Top 10 and bottom 10 as per the 2020 report.
  4. India’s performance this year and past years.
  5. What is a petition?
  6. Article 32.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the rule of law index. Discuss how India can perform better in this.

Sources: the Hindu.