Per capita spend on Judiciary

From Justice Definitions Project

Per capita spend on judiciary is public expenditure on the judiciary expressed as the average per-person spending during a particular financial year.

Total expenditure on the judiciary depends on both the budgetary allocation to the judiciary by the centre as well as each state. The lion’s share of this financial obligation rests with the states while the Centre contributes just about 10 per cent to state judiciary budgets. This is divided by the population of the state, which may be taken either from the last recorded Census or a population projection.

The typical formula to calculate the per capita spend on judiciary is:

Per capita spend on judiciary = Judiciary expenditure (Rs.) / Population of the State

This metric is not an “official” metric, used by the state or with an established benchmark, but is rather one that supplements inter-state comparison. The capacity of the judiciary to deliver is significantly influenced by the infrastructure, budgets and human resources available to it, and the diversity within it.

Official Definition

There are no official documents (such as guidelines/policy/law) by which to arrive at an ideal that a state must spend to ensure efficient functioning, determining a benchmark was a challenge in the research projects which discuss per capita spend on judiciary. Hence, the per capita expenditure has been used as an objective comparator between states to evaluate the adequacy of budgetary allocations to the judiciary. The average five-year change in expenditure is indicative of the proportion of their incremental budgets that states were able/ willing to allocate. This can be interpreted as being reflective of the priority that a state accords to its judiciary.

India Justice Report

In India, The India Justice Report is a national periodic report that brings together, hitherto siloed information, to measure the capacity of four pillars of the justice system - the police, the prison system, the judiciary and legal aid—in each state, against its own declared standards or benchmarks.[1]

Per Capita spend on the judiciary (Rs.) - India Justice Report

As of 2022, the national per capita spend on the judiciary was calculated at Rs.146, according to the India Justice Report. The data source for the 2022 report by India Justice Report is National Commission on Population, 2019; Combined Finance and Revenue Accounts of the Union and State Governments in India for 2020-21, Comptroller and Auditor General of India; Finance Division of Ministry of Home Affairs. The difference in per capita spend on judiciary can be analysed by the data mentioned below:

per capita spend on judiciary - state level

International Experience

  • The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, issues periodic reports (European Judicial Systems CEPEJ Evaluation Report) on judicial data of 44 European countries. The CEPEJ aims to provide policy makers and justice professionals a practical and detailed tool for a better understanding of the functioning of justice in Europe, in order to improve its efficiency and its quality. The formula used by CEPEJ, is the same as the formula used by other reports as mentioned above. It also calculates per capita spend, as percentage of GDP.
    Average courts‘ budget by different groups of GDP per capita in 2020 (Q1, Q3, Q6,Q12,Q13)

Research that engages with

Way Ahead

Per capita spend on judiciary is an important instrument to determine the effectiveness of the judiciary as well as the general importance given to the judicial system by the state. The lack of recognition of the parameter by official databases, leads to a major research gap, which ultimately hampers the transparency.

Similar Terms

Per capita expenditure on judiciary, Judicial system budget allocated per inhabitant.

  1. India Justice Report, (last visited Aug 19, 2023).
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