Women aren’t even close to accounting for 10 percent of the police force strength in our country. A new report published by Tata Trust shows that Indian’s 2.4 million-strong police force has only a mere seven percent women in it.

“Even if states commit to increasing women’s representation at a modest additional one per cent per annum, it will take most of them and institutions decades to reach even to this aspirational 33 percent,” said the report.

The report also found that only six percent women are inducted in the police force at the officer ranks. It also shared data in other sectors and revealed the gender disparity in them as jail staff only accounts for 10 percent and judges in the high courts and subordinate courts only have 26.5 percent women in them.

Apart from gendered underrepresentation, the report also shows caste-based under-representation, as SCs, STs, and OBCs are barely inducted in the police personnel as the large percentage of reserved seats for these marginalized communities continue to go vacant.

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Between 2011 and 2016, the report reveals, the number of women in police personnel and women officers among all police in Kerala dipped to 0.03 and 0.13 percentage points respectively. This resulted in the rise of vacancies at the officer level by over three percentage points.

While the policy document suggests that at least one-third of the personnel should be women in prison administration, the report reveals that only 9.6 percent of staff are women. There are only six states and UTs with more than 15 percent female representation – Nagaland (22.8 percent), Sikkim (18.8 percent), Karnataka (18.7 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (18.1 percent), Meghalaya (17 percent) and Delhi (15.1 percent). While at the end of the chart are Goa and Telangana as they have only 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent women staff respectively.

Another key finding is that there are 28 million cases pending in Indian subordinate courts and 24 percent of them have been pending for more than five years.

“In Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat along with Meghalaya and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at least one in every four cases have been pending for more than five years,” the report said.

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To compile this report, researchers compared 18 large and mid-sized states (with a population of 10 million and above, where more than 90 percent of India lives) and seven small states (up to 10 million population) based on four pillars of the justice system – police, prisons, judiciary, and legal aid.

“Even if states commit to increasing women’s representation at a modest additional 1 per cent per annum, it will take most of them and institutions decades to reach even to this aspirational 33 percent,”

The researchers did not study Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and Jammu and Kashmir (before it was declared a Union Territory by the Indian government) because of the “challenges of internal security going beyond the normal ambit of policing and law and order.”

The India Justice Report 2019 has been compiled by human rights experts and legal policy leaders from groups including Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, Tata Institute of Social Sciences – Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

Picture credit- Indiatimes

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