Judiciary as a Bureaucratic Organisation and Its Public Value

Published date01 December 2023
AuthorMaithili S. Sane
Date01 December 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Judiciary as a
Organisation and
Its Public Value
Maithili S. Sane1,2
In 2021, India fell three positions in the Rule of Law Index released by the World
Justice Project (2019). The India Justice Report 2020 shows the pathological dis-
parity in access and administration of justice in India. Why is it that despite
decades of judicial reforms, justice delivery in India continues to remain poor?
This paper argues that judiciary is looked at and studied from the standpoint of
its most visible dimension—judges and their decision-making, rather than the
administrative machinery which facilitates this. This has tilted the judicial reforms
discourse towards structures and procedures rather than functions and behav-
iours. Using the Public Value Theory, it is submitted that judiciary needs to be
understood as a ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘public’ organisation which is not only tasked
with justice delivery but also value creation. This is a novel approach which has
not been deployed to study judicial organisations.
Judiciary, bureaucracy, Weber, public value theory, public managers
Target 16.3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aims to ‘ensure
equal access to justice for all’ by 2030. However, with less than a decade to go, the
target seems untenable, to say the least. An assessment by the World Justice
Project (2019) shows that approximately 5.1 billion people in the world experi-
ence a ‘justice gap’. A justice gap is where at least one of the following justice
needs are unmet: people who cannot obtain justice for everyday civil, administra-
tive or criminal justice problems, people who are excluded from the opportunities
the law provides, and people who live in extreme conditions of injustice.
Indian Journal of Public
69(4) 766–778, 2023
© 2023 IIPA
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561231196220
1 Department of International Studies, Women’s Christian College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
2 Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Corresponding author:
Maithili S. Sane, Department of International Studies, Women’s Christian College, Chennai 06, Tamil
Nadu, India.
E-mail: maithili@wcc.edu.in

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