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Your Voice - Your Issues

Your Voice - Your Issues


The role of an active civil society in forming public opinion and effective public policy interventions is well established. Your Issues, Your Voice is an attempt to tap into the knowledge resource of you, the voting public and use your emotions, thoughts and ideas to create consensus for action. I will ask you questions on this forum through our ‘Poll’, give my views on issues of contemporary relevance through the interactive blog and ask for your inputs every step of the way. I want you to stand up and get counted, give your aspirations an expression, reach out and connect.


Your Voice - Your Issues
08 July 2013

Parliamentary Q&A on pending court cases and judicial reforms

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Written by Saanya Gulati

Parliamentary Q&A on pending court cases and judicial reforms

Fast tracking our courts

Fast track courts are often seen as an alternative to the justice system in India. Following the gang rape case of a 23 year-old girl last year, many called on the need for fast track courts in resolving cases of sexual assault against women. But this debate often misses the larger question of why our legal system fails to guarantee the speedy delivery of justice in the first place.

Almost every High court today faces a huge pendency of cases. Over 43 lakh cases were pending for disposal across high courts, at the end of 2011. The average rate of disposal in High Courts between 2009 and 2011 was a little under 17 lakh cases per year, which is less than half of the total backlog. Moreover, the number of new cases filed in the courts each year is actually equal to and sometimes more than the number of cases disposed, which naturally sets a vicious cycle in motion. While this is one of the primary reasons as to why the problem of pendency persists, according to the response to a Parliamentary Question, this explanation fails to account for the gaps in the policies that actually address judicial reforms.

The Government has undertaken several pendency reduction drives in the past. The pendency drive between July and December of 2011 reduced pendency by about 6 lakhs. Over one-sixth of these cases pertained to senior citizens, persons with disabilities, minors, and marginalized sections of society. A similar drive was to be undertaken during the same period in 2012 as well. Though a 6-lakh reduction is significant, it still remains a small proportion of the total pendency that continues to persist year in and year out. Several other issues also continue to plague our justice system.

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Your Voice - Your Issues
06 June 2013

Read the third edition of the Parliamentary Questions Series Blog on World Environment Day

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Written by Saanya Gulati

Read the third edition of the Parliamentary Questions Series Blog on World Environment Day

The State of our Rivers revisiting some of the factors that explain the current situation

With the Maha Kumbh Mela held earlier this year, the rising levels of pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, has received significant public attention. The on-going developments in a landmark Supreme Court case initiated suomoto in 1994,over high levels of pollution in the Yamuna river,also revealed that massive public expenditures, estimated at 12,000 crore, spent on cleaning the river seem to have gone down the drain —in this case literally.

In this Budget Session of Parliament, several questions related to river pollution have been asked.In light of the significant attention that this issue has received the public discourse,it is worth revisiting some of the factors that can explain the state of our rivers today.

The sorry state of sewage treatment

Most public interventions aimed at river conservation,are under the banner of pollution abatement, which are efforts to prevent the pollution load from reaching the river. Sewage treatment is the most common such activity.

However, there continues to remain a gap between the generation and treatment of sewage. Our total treatment capacity is just a little over 11,000 million litres a day (MLD) against over 38,000MLD of sewage that is generated, according to a study by the Central Pollution Control Board.Only 30 per cent of discharged sewage is therefore treated in Class I and II cities, as per this data.For sewage being discharged into rivers, the percentage treated was estimated to be even lower, a mere 10 per cent,according to the  C.A.G.’s Report on Water Pollution, in 2011-12.

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