• Stambh Organization

UNITED NATIONS SDG 16 AND INDIA


The adoption of sustainable development goals by 193 countries, including India, in

September 2015 marked another turning point in the environmental history of nations, as

governments moved beyond the Millennium Development Goals to set new benchmarks for

human well-being. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India aptly captures the spirit of this shift

when it says, ‘The traditional concept that development and ecology are opposed to each

other is no longer acceptable’. The precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle, and

the concept of sustainable development were all made part of the basic right regime under

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution by the Supreme Court in this decision. As a result, it is

evident that the international commitment, as well as the idea of sustainable development, is

an integral part of Indian law, and that the SDGs must be viewed as more than just an

international commitment. The critical question is whether or not international goals

supported by judicial sanctity have resulted in the specifics of an executive framework to

meet the SDGs. The SDG Goal 16 ‘Peace, Justice and Institutions’ aims to ‘Promote peaceful

and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The first step toward achieving any part of the 2030 sustainable development goal agenda

will be to restore security and human rights to people whose lives and basic freedoms are

being jeopardised by direct violence or institutionalised injustice. Many of the nations that

failed to meet their Millennium Development Goals by 2015 were afflicted by armed conflict

and instability. If there is no feeling of stability, peace, assurance of effective governance, or

protection of human rights, achieving the final aim is practically difficult. All this, and more,

is possible only through the rule of law. The member nations major attention should now be on defining and/or modifying national and international policies, as well as ensuring their proper implementation. Particular attention should be paid to places where conflict and

violent cycles persist. Because instability and (armed) violence wreak havoc on a country

development, leading to a state rife with crimes including sexual violence, exploitation, and

torture, adopting Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions as one of the SDGs was

indispensable.


INDIA'S PERSPECTIVE ON PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STRONGER INSTITUTIONS

  • THE RULE OF LAW

Equality before the law has been a central notion from the origin of the concept of

justice, and it can only be achieved through effective governance and warranted; rule

of law. The World Justice Project, an independent organization, rated India 69t

h out of 128 nations on the Global Rule of Law Index 2020, implying that measures

are being made to weaken the rule of law in India. Corruption, Fundamental Rights,

Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice are the categories on

which the aforementioned agency bases its rating. Extrajudicial executions are a clear

violation of the rule of law, and India has seen its fair number of them in recent years

(Ref: the infamous Bhopal jail encounter and Telangana encounter). Another instance

of a threat to the rule of law occurred when Google and Facebook revealed that the

government had requested information on their users accounts. According to the

National Judicial Data Grid, there is a massive backlog of civil and criminal cases,

with more than 96 lakh civil cases pending in district and taluka courts and over 36

lakhs in high courts. After all these years, excessive delay in filing the FIR and

conducting a half-hearted investigation remain a plague in the criminal justice system.

  • ANSWERABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Simply said, accountability refers to the responsibility and accountability of

authorities and power holders for their acts and/or behaviour. The term derives from a

feeling of’ moral necessity and it is relational in that it affects both individuals who

act and those who are impacted. It is absolutely necessary for any and all social

systems to function. It is widely known that India's government suffers from a

significant lack of accountability; combine that with a blame-game, and you have a

recipe for a destructive economy. The current situation is due to the fact that the

framework for ensuring policymakers external responsibility is inadequate, and the

policy-making process is also protected by internal accountability. As a result, the

public has no access to information about how (or on what basis) decisions are made.

  • EFFICACY OF GOVERNANCE

Citizens all across the world look up to the states and its organs high-quality

functioning. It also enables optimum investment returns. That is what effective

administration is all about. The state strives for empowerment, fairness, full

employment, and top-notch service delivery to its residents via good and effective

government. The Government of India has taken a number of actions that highlight its

efforts to be a more effective government, such as the National E-Governance Plan,

which was created with the goal of making all government-provided services

available to every person of the country through electronic media. Minimum

Government, Maximum Governance is also the plan motto. Make in India Start-up India and the Skill India Mission among many others, are examples of such programs/plans.

  • A COMPREHENSIVE SOCIETY

A society should be inclusive of all classes, genders, and races, guaranteeing full

involvement in all spheres and domains. What social beings desire is to have a sense

of belonging and acceptance inside their societies. In fact, according to the New

Brunswick Association for Community Living, social involvement is a key aspect in

the determination of health. India does not appear to be as inclusive—a society—as

it professes to be, with an estimated 300 million people living in poverty, 273 million

illiterates, and 40% of the world's undernourished children. According to the 2017

World Economic Forum report, India is rated 60th out of 79 emerging economies in

the Inclusive Development Index. Surprisingly, just 6% of the poor have access to

running water, compared to 33% of the non-poor. To make matters worse, just 21% of

the poor have access to latrines, compared to 62 percent of the non-poor. The figures

contribute to the conclusion that India is far behind in terms of meeting the UN's

criteria for an inclusive society.

With the world's biggest elected democracy, India has the potential to develop in leaps and

bounds. To make peace and justice available to all and reasonable to even the lowest of the

poor, ground-breaking innovations are required on several fronts. Furthermore, the devotion

and quality of public officials have a significant impact on the nation's success. India has

been a force to be reckoned with in the quest to become a superpower for decades, but this

goal will only come true if the leaders bring everyone along, not just a handful.


REFERENCES:

1) https://ris.org.in/pdf/SDGs_Report_Chapter_16.pdf

2) https://www.thewokelawyer.org/post/sdg-16-india-the-journey-so-far

3) http://www.businessworld.in/article/A-Vision-Of-India-s-Future/13-01-2017-111389/

4) https://indianfolk.com/can-make-india-

inclusive/#:~:text=India%20has%20been%20ranked%2060th,a%20%20WEF%20report

%20of%202017.

5) https://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-

16-peace-justice-a%20nd-strong-institutions.html/

6) https://sdgs.un.org/goals


About the author,

Apoorva K

I semester BA,LLB (hons)

School of legal studies, CMR University, Bangalore

Research intern at Stambh organisation.

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