Centre for Justice, the legal research and litigation wing of India Institute, is among the first legal research institutions in the country dedicated to fighting for freedom. Founded in January 2013, Centre for Justice will act as a platform for dialogue, reasoning and legal action to defend rule of law, promote competition and secure individual freedom.
Absence of Rule of Law
In India, rule of law is regularly outdone by clout or money. Even what should be basic rights like getting an FIR registered or making a government officer accountable for his job or accessing public information is today among the most difficult and dangerous tasks in India even though rule of law is guaranteed as a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. Regular undermining of rule of law is one of the key factors leading to India’s substandard rankings in the Rule of Law Index and Access to Justice Index. India ranks 66th in 99 countries in the Rule of Law Index 2014.
Restriction on Competition
Competition is vital to a modern society as it sustains the process of continual innovation and improvement. In markets, competition translates into choices for consumers. If competition is freely allowed, every player in every sector will strive to improve to attract more consumers. But in India, licensing and cronyism, thanks to the enormous amount of discretionary power state functionaries hold in the garb of regulation, has successfully sabotaged the proper functioning of market forces. In addition to putting consumers at a disadvantage, this condition deprives honest entrepreneurs of opportunity to work and grow through honest means. Thus, explaining India’s dismal 120th rank in the 2014 Economic Freedom Index.
Lack of Individual Freedom
Freedom is a basic human right. Freedom to speak, to vote, to love and to freely practice any faith defines a democratic republic. The quality and integrity of our life is defined by the amount of freedom we have: freedom to trade, freedom to be safe, freedom to love, freedom to choose what to buy from who, in fact, the freedom to do anything that betters our standard of life without hurting others. However, India’s track record in securing freedom for its citizens presents a dismal picture. Whether it is the number of rapes or bans or restrictions on speech and writing; or choosing who and when to love, we have a record that we cannot be proud of. The lack of freedom in India is evident by our 4th rank in the Global Slavery Rank. We have an estimated 1.3 to 1.4 crore slaves. In a nut shell, we are citizens of a democratic and a free country yet we are not free to be ourselves.
Policy Solutions / Legal Reforms
- We strongly recommend that the licensing system which places unfair and undesirable amount of discretion in the hands of the state should be removed and market forces of demand and supply allowed to regulate business and competition.
- Freedom to choose and freedom to speak are fundamental of rights of human beings. Colonial laws such as the clause in Section 377 in IPC that criminalizes consensual gay intercourse, Section 375 that fails to criminalise marital rape and Section 124A (the sedition law) that takes away even free speech should be repealed and amended where necessary.