Rule of Law Index: India falls 3 places to 79 of 139 countries, Nepal, Sri Lanka fare better

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By Special Correspondent

Washington DC:  India has fallen three places to 79 out of 139 countries in the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index® 2021.  The WJP, which evaluates rule of law in 139 countries or jurisdictions, placed India 3rd out of 6 in the South Asia region. Regionally, South Asia’s top performer in the Index is Nepal (70th out of 139 countries globally).

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The top three performers in this year’s index  were Denmark, Norway, and Finland while Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cambodia, and Venezuela, RB had the lowest overall rule of law scores.

According to the report, India’s overall rule of law score decreased 1.9% in this year’s Index. At 79th place out of 139 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, India fell three positions in global rank. India’s score places it at 3 out of 6 countries in the South Asia region and 9 out of 35 among lower-middle income countries. Regionally, South Asia’s top performer in the Index is Nepal (70th out of 139 countries globally), followed by Sri Lanka and India.

The three countries with the lowest scores in the region were Bangladesh; Pakistan; and Afghanistan (134th out of 139 countries globally). In the last year, 6 out of 6 countries declined in South Asia. Of those 6 countries, 5 had also declined in the previous year.

The Index is considered as the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law. Covering 139 countries and jurisdictions, the Index relies on national surveys of more than 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners and experts to measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived worldwide.

The report is the first in this annual series issued since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, and it shows multi-year negative trends worsening during this period.

The 2021 Index shows that globally more countries declined than improved in overall rule of law performance for the fourth consecutive year.

In a year dominated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, 74.2% of countries experienced declines in rule of law performance, while 25.8% improved.

The 74.2% of countries that experienced declines this year account for 84.7% of the world’s population, or approximately 6.5 billion people. The declines were widespread and seen in all corners of the world.

For the second year in a row, in every region, a majority of countries slipped backward or remained unchanged in their overall rule of law performance.

Over the past year, 82% of countries in the Index experienced a decline in at least one dimension of civic space (civic participation, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of assembly and association) and 94% of countries in the Index experienced increased delays in administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings.

“With negative trends in so many countries, this year’s WJP Rule of Law Index should be a wakeup call for us all.” said WJP Co-Founder and CEO Bill Neukom. “Rule of Law is the very foundation of communities of justice, opportunity and peace. Reinforcing that foundation should be a top priority for the coming period of recovery from the pandemic.”

The WJP’s framework for the rule of law covers eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.

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