India is a multiparty, federal, parliamentary democracy with a bicameral parliament. The president, elected by an electoral college, is the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of the government. Under the constitution, the 29 states and seven union territories have a high degree of autonomy and have primary responsibility for law and order. Voters elected President Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 to a five-year term, and Narendra Modi became prime minister following the victory of the National Democratic Alliance coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the May 2014 general elections. Observers considered these elections, which included more than 551 million participants, free and fair, despite isolated instances of violence.
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The most significant human rights problems involved instances of police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; corruption, which remained widespread and contributed to ineffective responses to crimes, including those against women, children, and members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs); and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe.
Other human rights problems included disappearances, hazardous prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pretrial detention. Court backlogs delayed or denied justice, including through lengthy pretrial detention and denial of due process. The government placed restrictions on foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including some whose views the government believed were not in the “national or public interest,” curtailing the work of civil society. There were instances of infringement of privacy rights. The law in six states restricted religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests but no reports of convictions under those laws. Some limits on the freedom of movement continued. Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women and girls remained serious societal problems. Child abuse, female genital mutilation and cutting, and forced and early marriage were problems. Trafficking in persons, including widespread bonded and forced labor of children and adults, and sex trafficking of children and adults for prostitution, were serious problems. Societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and indigenous persons continued, as did discrimination and violence based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and persons with HIV.
A lack of accountability for misconduct at all levels of government persisted, contributing to widespread impunity. Investigations and prosecutions of individual cases took place, but lax enforcement, a shortage of trained police officers, and an overburdened and under resourced court system contributed to infrequent convictions.
Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeastern states, and the Maoist belt committed serious abuses, including killings of armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians.