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Whether it be bribery, getting a desired day in court, or any sort of unjust practice to sway the results of a trial, India’s judicial system remains as one riddled with corruption from many sides. Lawyers, administrative staff, judges, defendants, and more have used these practices to sway countless cases, and exist at all levels of the court system. While the Indian Supreme Court is generally reserved for the cases of highest importance or urgency, because of petitions and the implementation of bribery, the public or individuals outside the Supreme Court have been able to decide what cases go to the highest court of law in India. At least at the High Court level, one step below the Supreme Court, corrupt judges can be impeached under the Judges inquiry Act of 1968, but have to have support of at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Upper House of Parliament, or Rajya Sabha.

Staff shortages, case backlogs, different levels of corruption in judiciary hearings, and many other factors have led to the prominent nature of corruption within India’s courts. According to The Guardian from around 2016, India has 18 judges per million inhabitants, one of the lowest in the world, whereas many nations have well over 50 per million, and the US having double that at 107 per million. This may partially be due to the overpopulation and abundance of citizens in India, but still limits the amount of trials that can be heard significantly. Coinciding with this, 30 million outstanding cases were in the system in 2015, as BBC said, and that the Supreme Court itself only handles about 2,600 cases a year, meaning the cases will literally never be finished at this rate.

The worst part to this is the secretive, whispered insinuations of this occurring is almost the only punishment, as many of the justices who have been caught in a corrupt practice have been able to step down with little or no repercussions. One of the first instances of punishing corrupt judges was in May 2017 when Honorable Justice C. S. Karnan was found guilty of contempt of the court, and only punished because of making allegations against the court afterward. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, and has happened again somewhat recently, but definitely is not common, where in lower courts corruption is more openly exposed.

There are few but abusable loopholes in the Indian Judicial system, one stating that you cannot register a case against a judge presumed of corruption without the permission of the CJI. Since it is tough for poorer people to do this, most of the time, it protects them and allows judges to abuse their power against lower classes in court. Markandey Katju, former judge of the Indian Supreme Court, while addressing lawyers of Punjab and Haryana claimed that 50%, half of higher court judges were corrupt, a shocking statistic if true. However, many experts feel that corruption bleeding into the higher courts such as the Indian Supreme Court is a direct result of the lower class, district or courts having corrupt practices undermines and allows for it to spread. The collusion on this lower level sets a precedent that if a judge moves up, they stick to what they have done in lower courts, continuing corrupt practices.

Going into bribes specifically, many are done for all different reasons. First off, and most common, for a favorable judgment in the trial, to win a case and possibly a monetary settlement if in a case such as a civil case calling for payment. A second reason is to get a quicker judgment of the case, either to speed up the process or get their case through to a court, as there is a gigantic backlog of trials to be done. Another is to pay for bail, or to allow someone out who may not have been allowed out on bail. Manipulating a witness to say something you want them or do not want them to say is another, less directly paying to win the case, but to pay a witness, which may be easier to persuade. Finally, influencing the Public Prosecutor on the basis of the F.I.R. or State cases is common as well.

There are many different ways to fix these problems, all within the ability of the government, in order to keep order in India’s judicial system. Use of new technologies, offering other ways to dispute court cases and corrupt justices, and making the justices actually accountable for their actions by punishment, following a more stringent code of conduct, and other certain special measures like citizen judges will all aid in a better judicial system. While there is a lot of work needed to fix the Indian Judicial system, there is hope that it will soon become one of honor and not known specifically for corruption or lack of judges with way too many cases at hand.

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Oppressed, broken, or crushed is the direct translation of the word Dalit, which is used to describe the class of citizens that are lowest on the caste system’s social ladder. Previously considered “untouchables” by the standards of the caste, their goal is to eliminate this oppression that they have experienced going back to the beginning of the Hindu religion and second century BCE. However, during the time of Mahatma Gandhi, he called the groups Harijans and promoted keeping the caste system in place while changing the stigma behind calling almost 25 percent of the country’s population. Currently, there are over 200 million Dalits in India alone, according to Paul Diwakar, from the National Campaign of Dalit Human Rights.

Dr. Ambedkar, a lawyer and Dalit from the 1950’s initially called for the caste system to be ripped apart to limit the “untouchability” of the Dalits, but eventually gave up on this and converted to Buddhism. He had the right idea, however, as the Indian Constitution abolished the untouchability status by law, but socially, many still treat Dalits as such. It has disproportionately affected them in a 2004 tsunami, their sanitation facilities and sewage systems have been worse than the higher castes, and even politically have been undermined by the higher caste systems. Specifically, a good amount of Dalit injustice stems from education, especially higher education akin to college and other sorts.

When looking at the data, there is a misrepresentation in Dalit education in many states and villages, with only few states actually educating them past a certain point at a reasonable rate. This is due to the socio-economic hardships of not only being poorer and unable to get certain jobs, but also because they are not socially accepted by everyone in India.

In a study conducted by Kathryn Lum at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, which shows at the most elite universities in India, the discrimination of Dalits is similar to students in the LGBT community, and really focuses on the inner struggles of their life, both institutionally and socially at college. They actually have some pressure to not reveal their caste status, called the “Dalit Closet” which is why Lum compares them to this group. The students are well aware of the disadvantage that they have been given, and use it to motivate and mask themselves off, facing many internal challenges with fitting in as well. Ultimately, the author suggests change in the systems, admission of Dalit students, and talks of how a middle class of Dalits has actually emerged. There are now state legislature spots reserved for Dalits, and they are apt to pass at elite universities, but almost because of a societal impostor syndrome, some have developed a lot of mental issues.

To combat these injustices, the Indian government has mostly done its job on eradicating the unequal distribution of equity that the caste system had created. Now, it is more so up to private businesses, schools, and other institutions to not discriminate against Dalits. Yes, public buildings in certain areas most likely have some stigma toward the Dalit population, and some villages almost segregate Dalits from higher classes with specific areas for them, it is really a collective social change that needs to be made: Dalits need to be accepted as touchable, or accepted in society. While this defeats the purpose of caste, to break up groups, caste is stagnant, and does not allow for anyone to move up, meaning that these same groups will continually be institutionally discriminated against.

Since the beginning of the caste system, Dalits have been labeled untouchable. They have been oppressed, been unemployed for, given the worst treatment possible. This treatment has been mitigated in previous years, with people such as Gandhi, and legislation such as making it illegal to discriminate against Dalits. Similar to prior and current situations in American politics with the treatment of many systematically oppressed groups, Dalits will continually be oppressed against. To change this, an entire social change among all members of society to bolster a better, positive treatment for the previously untouchable Dalit class in India.

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Due to a rapidly urbanized and expanding population, India’s sanitation, especially sewage, has become an increasing problem. A lack of bathrooms has brought about open defecation in some areas, while increased sewage treatment and disposal methods have been proven to lower diarrheal diseases by up to 60%. These illnesses, spread by water, are isolated from hygiene-based changes or promotion, but can still be prevented by better hygiene practices.

Poorer, slum areas are infamous for not having open sewage of any type, but also for lacking clean, running water. In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, 86 of 124 towns did not have either of these practices, and those that do are more likely than not to have contaminated water. Water treatment is essential to the health of citizens, and switching to semi-centralized supply and treatment systems is more effective than centralized ones.

Another factor to keep in mind is healthcare, in the event of someone getting sick because of these illnesses. 12 percent of the population has some form of healthcare, meaning treatment for the infected is unlikely, also because of needing to continue work to pay for necessities. Open sewage systems lead to these complications, but a lack of hospitals or medical attention when needed exacerbates the issue to gradually more people.

Going back to open defecation,12 percent of urban population do so, as there is simply not enough access to modern plumbing or other systems to dispose of this waste, resulting in unclean drinking water. 93 percent of sewage makes its way to some body of water, without ever being treated. While there is some access to systems such as underground pipes, pumping stations, and treatment plants, they are too costly and laborious to build and maintain.

Luckily, some organizations have stepped in to fix this problem. The Consortium for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System Dissemination Society (CDD) and their Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System (DEWATS) have adapted to situations of rural communities to work with unreliable power. Smaller, less expensive systems based on natural bacteria and plants, but also reduces the use of natural freshwater greatly. In 13 different Indian states, even being implemented in Nepal and Afghanistan, CDD has made a large impact in rural areas.

Additionally, the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), started in 2014 to free the country from open defecation. This was created and funded by the Indian prime minister of the time, and had two primary objectives: to build more toilets in Indian states, as well as build public sewage systems. The process of containment, removal, transport, treatment, and disposal of waste is used by this government-run program to tackle this goal, creating 19 times as many public toilets in Patna in 2017-18 compared to 2014.

There exists privately-owned with the sole purpose of making sewage systems, but are usually far too expensive for individuals or even small towns to afford, meaning that they do not see much use. Also, many have said that the public mentality of public defecation and sewage treatment needs to change, but can only be done so if given the ability to change their habits and old ways.

To conclude, much has been done on open sewage, treating pollution, and the general water situation in India. Government programs, nonprofits coming in, education and trying to change opinions on public defecation have all tried to fix the situation. It will take some time and money, but given the current practices put in place, India will eventually fix the situation and have access to clean water for all.

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