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This article discusses measuring progress towards justice in people’s everyday lives in India. United Nations (UN) member states adopted access to justice in the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the 2030 Agenda launched in 2016. SDG 16 commits nations to “[p]romote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” SDG 16 is an opportunity to study, identify, and imagine meaningful ways for civil society to supplement government data from law enforcement, budget allocations for public services, birth records, and the like. The article examines early work on SDG 16 indicators and data collection planning by the government and civil society in India, including observations from a nongovernmental organization about how its good rural governance program meets SDG 16 targets. S M Sehgal Foundation collaborates with communities to empower villagers to know their rights and remedies to seek when people face injustice. Such civil society organizations provide a valuable communication bridge between grassroots communities and government departments providing public services and grievance redressal. Legal professionals, civil society organizations, and government officials collaborate on SDG 16 to improve access to justice. Law faculty and students should join the leadership in SDG 16 efforts to improve legal education, contribute research and deepen understanding of the issues at the grassroots near their campuses. The emergence of international discussion on SDG 16 highlights the mandate to nations, and ultimately communities, to better measure how people experience justice every day.
“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
—United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16