India Country Profile

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Judicial System

Individual Corruption

According to Freedom in the World 2013, the judiciary, particularly at the lower levels, is reportedly rife with corruption, and most citizens have great difficulty securing fair case resolution through the courts. Similarly, the Human Rights Report 2013 states that judicial corruption is widespread. Citizens report that court procedures are very slow and complicated, and the court system fuels the use of bribes and other kinds of influence peddling. People give bribes to obtain a favourable judgment, but bribes are also used to influence public prosecutors. Almost half of the respondents in the Global Corruption Barometer 2013 felt that the judiciary was corrupt of extremely corrupt. According to the Human Rights Report 2012, bribes are reportedly paid to move a case more rapidly through the system.

Business Corruption

There are indications that when interacting with the judiciary, companies are faced with the same problems of cumbersome bureaucracy and corruption as ordinary citizens. The court system is severely backlogged and understaffed, and, according to Freedom in the World 2013, there are currently millions of pending civil and criminal cases—many of these involving companies. Although computerisation has enhanced the efficiency of the courts, enforcing contracts is still so time-consuming that Doing Business 2014 reports that India is among the worst economies in the world in terms of time needed to enforce commercial contracts. Despite government efforts to the contrary, companies continue to deal with a cumbersome judicial bureaucracy.

Political Corruption

According to Freedom in the World 2013, judges have in recent years initiated several contempt-of-court cases against activists and journalists, raising questions about their misuse of the law to intimidate those who expose the behaviour of corrupt judges or those who question verdicts. The Transformation Index 2014 reports of legislation which would increase the accountability of the judiciary is being considered in Parliament.

Recently, the government has taken action to reprimand corrupt judicial officers, and rhetoric condemning such behaviour gives the impression there is real concern and a desire to squash judicial corruption within the government. These efforts have coincided with a marked increase in high-profile corruption allegations.

Frequency

The World Bank & IFC: Doing Business 2014:
- On average, enforcing a commercial contract through Indian courts requires a company to go through 46 administrative procedures, taking 1,420 days and costing 39.6% of the claim.

Transparency International: Global Corruption Barometer 2013:
- 45% of surveyed households consider the judiciary to be 'corrupt' or 'extremely corrupt'.

World Economic Forum: The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014:
- Business executives give the independence of the judiciary from influences of members of government, citizens or companies a score of 4.7 on a 7-point scale (1 being 'heavily influenced' and 7 'entirely independent').

- Business executives give the efficiency of the legal system for private companies to settle disputes and to challenge the legality of government actions and/or regulations a score of 3.8 and 3.8, respectively, on a 7-point scale (1 being 'extremely inefficient' and 7 'highly efficient').