“A conference on – ‘Odisha’s Justice System: Capacity Assessment.”
Over the last two India Justice Reports (2019 and 2020), the capacity of Odisha’s justice system has shown a need for improvement. The drop in rank from the 7th (IJR 2019) to the 11th (IJR 2020) spot is mainly attributable to structural deficiencies in the judiciary and prisons ‘pillars’; sliding from the 9th to the 15th rank, and from 5th to 9th respectively. A deeper dive into these pillars throw up familiar problems: rising vacancies (including 1 out of 3 medical staff and officers ‘missing’ across prisons), stagnating or declining diversity, a declining case clearance rate in the subordinate courts contributing to the backlog and a growing trend of undertrial prisoners over a 5-year period.
Present responses shaped by structural challenges and acts of commission and omission will inevitably shape the future delivery of justice, and therefore there is a need to seize the moment and redouble efforts to engage constructively and holistically in the repair and reconstruction of the justice system.
This Conference is a joint effort; organised by NLUO (Cuttack) and the India Justice Report team. It seeks to present Odisha-specific insights to the honourable custodians of the four pillars of the formal justice system i.e. judiciary, police, prisons and legal aid. It hopes to engage practitioners, duty holders within the system, civil society and academia and enrich ongoing efforts to improve Odisha’s justice system.