Recent advancements in Indian politics provide a glimpse of what can be expected on the horizon.

A government-appointed panel, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, has prepared a four-volume, 749-page report containing numerous recommendations for Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code.

Although the code includes exceptions and caveats and may not necessarily result in tangible benefits for the people on the ground, it is likely to serve as a compelling political narrative to an already strained society, potentially gathering Hindu votes under the guise of yet another symbolic victory.

India has the largest number of pending court cases in the world. In 2023, the total number of pending cases across all types and levels surged past 50 million(5 crores) with over 169,000 court cases lingering for more than 30 years in district and high courts.

In 2019, one rape was reported every 16 minutes in India, marking a concerning increase from the previous year when it was reported every 15 minutes. The national average rape rate, measured per 100,000 population, stood at 4.9 in 2019, a slight decrease from the rates observed in 2018 and 2017, which were 5.2 each.

These statistics underscore the persistent and pervasive issue of sexual violence in the country, highlighting the urgent need for effective measures to address and combat this alarming trend.

There are numerous reasons to talk for the root cause. Firstly, there is a severe shortage of judges, with only around 21,000 currently serving. The current Judge-to-Population ratio stands at 10 per million, far below the Law Commission’s recommended ratio of at least 50 per million, as suggested in its 1987 report.

Moreover, with the population having increased by over 25 crore since 1987, the inadequacy of judges has become even more pronounced.

Secondly, the Indian judiciary suffers from insufficient resources, with both the Central and State governments showing reluctance to increase spending on judicial infrastructure. Budgetary allocations for the entire judiciary range from a paltry 0.1% to 0.4% of the overall budget, exacerbating the problem.

India urgently requires more courts and additional benches to alleviate the backlog of cases. Furthermore, the modernization and computerisation of court systems have not been uniformly implemented across all courts, hindering efficiency and exacerbating delays.

Moreover, there is a concerning lack of judicial quality in lower courts, as the Indian judicial system has struggled to attract the best talent. Consequently, the quality of judges in lower courts is not consistently high, leading to a higher number of appeals filed against their decisions in higher courts, further contributing to the case backlog.

Additionally, judges often lack specialisation, leading to inefficiencies and sluggishness in case resolution. Addressing these systemic issues is crucial to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Indian judiciary.

It is tragically ironic that the priorities of Indian politicians have become increasingly divisive. The pressing issues that urgently require attention are often sidelined, with solutions remaining elusive.

There is a disturbing trend where majoritarian sentiments align with what is portrayed as religious superiority, viewed as a cultural resurgence against the perceived constraints of secular ideals.

The inauguration of the Ram Temple on 22 January 2024 served as a pivotal date, overshadowing even the Republic Day celebrations, which were sandwiched between 22 January 22nd and 30 January 30th, the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

This juxtaposition highlights the conflicting narratives and priorities within Indian society, where historical significance clashes with contemporary ideals of unity and secularism.

In the past, hardliners like LK Advani and AB Vajpayee, despite being pivotal figures in the Temple movement, maintained a subtle approach in their responses and refrained from endorsing the kind of official acknowledgment of divisiveness that we witness today.

The combined position of both LK Advani and AB Vajpayee, as evident from their respective interviews, was contrary to the official Indian PMO stance observed today.

The recent introduction of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Parliament was accompanied by the chants of “Jai Shree Ram” in the background, highlighting the irony that a bill aimed at establishing a uniform civil code is presented in a religiously dominated flavour.

This juxtaposition underscores the complexities and contradictions within the political landscape, where religious sentiments often overshadow the pursuit of secular and inclusive governance.

On 10 February, discussions regarding the construction of the Ram temple took place in Parliament. During this session, Asaduddin Owaisi, the AIMIM MP from Hyderabad, expressed his respect for Lord Ram while simultaneously characterising the construction of the Ram temple as unjust. He also referenced the unfortunate incident of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Subsequently, Navneet Rana, an independent MP from Amravati, responded to Owaisi’s remarks during her own speech. She emphasized the importance of respecting Lord Ram, stating that if individuals wish to reside in this country, they must utter the phrase “Jai Shri Ram.

This represents a new political nadir, setting a troubling precedent for future adversaries.