There are good reasons why the Indian judicial system is generally considered to be less corrupt than the rest of the administration. Yet, the Global Corruption Report 2007 published on 24 May by Transparency International makes for sober reading.
“Corruption is increasingly apparent,” says the report. The problem is not in the upper judiciary which is “relatively clean” but in the lower reaches of the system—court clerks, prosecutors and police investigators.
One main issue is delays, which feed corruption. India has just 1.3 judges per lakh people, compared with 10.7 in the US and 5.1 in the UK. If cases that are currently pending were assigned, each Supreme Court judge would need to dispose of 1,294 cases and a high court judge will have to tackle 4,987 cases. This will take many years. But we are lucky that we don’t have face-offs between the government and the courts of the sort that has led to so much violence in neighbouring Pakistan.