A Recap of 2022
Reflections on Data for Justice (D4J)
It has been more than a year since the launch of JusticeHub and since then we have engaged with multiple stakeholders in the legal and judicial community to enable data-driven studies of India’s judicial system.
The Data for Justice (D4J) Newsletter is a peek into our work and keep you posted about the happenings in the D4J ecosystem.
A dataset about judges of the Indian High Court
We started a new initiative KHOJ (Know Your High Court Judges), which includes data on more than 1700 judges appointed between 1993 and 2021. It was unveiled by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice UU Lalit along with Justice D.Y.Chandrachud, Justice MR Shah and Orissa High Court Chief Justice S Muralidhar. The dataset captures information across 43 variables on the personal, educational and professional backgrounds of India’s High Court judges. It opens pathways for researchers to probe deeper into the composition of the High Court judges and to undertake jurimetrics studies which explore the linkages between judicial behaviour and the background of judges.
KHOJ was a result of the collaborative efforts of more than 30 students and 10 professionals as volunteers who worked for over a period of 15 months. It is now available under an open-access license on the Justice Hub. To date, several media houses have written about the multiple use cases possible with this dataset. Do check these links to know more:
CJI Lalit Unveils 'KHOJ' Dataset At Ninth Convocation Of NLU Odisha
सीजेआई यूयू ललित ने एनएलयू ओडिशा के 9वें दीक्षांत समारोह में 'KHOJ' डेटासेट का अनावरण किया
What private companies did India’s HC judges serve? KHOJ dataset is filling info gaps
With a paradigm shift in access to data on Judges, the Supreme Court’s collegium may be on the cusp of transparency
At 9th Convocation of NLU Odisha, CJI UU Lalit Unveils ‘KHOJ’ Dataset
Few Women, Many Lawyers: What A New Dataset On High Court Judges Reveals
A decade of POCSO
It has been a decade since the enactment of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, making now an opportune time to study its implementation. This year, VIDHI - Centre for Legal Policy conducted a pan-India study on the implementation of POCSO using data from the eCourts. This research report is hosted on the JusticeHub. It builds on top of the previous work undertaken by HAQ - Centre for Child Rights and CivicDataLab to study the implementation of POCSO in the states of Assam, Haryana and Delhi. The datasets and the reports of this study are hosted on JusticeHub. Ms Bharti Ali, from HAQ, presented insights from this report during the POCSO@10 conference organised by the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). Another important report which analyses instances of romantic cases under the POCSO Act was published by the team at Enfold Proactive Health Trust. Here, they analysed 1,715 judgments by Special Courts in Assam, Maharashtra and West Bengal that entailed an explicit reference to a romantic relationship between the victim and the accused.
Budgets for Justice
How can we make the process of budgeting more participatory?
At CivicDataLab, we keep probing this question and experimenting with ideas. This has led us to create several tools and dashboards which make it easier for citizens to engage with public finance-related information. We conduct workshops to assist organisations to submit data-driven budgetary suggestions to the government. In 2022, we collaborated with Agami and Civis to launch the Budgets for Justice platform which allows us to look at the spending patterns and priorities of the government in the last 6 years, to enhance access to justice for all.
We have also learned that, as citizens, we have more opportunities to participate in the budgetary process at the state and local levels. However, it gets harder since state budgets are much more difficult to access. Most states do not publish budget files in formats which can be readily analysed like a CSV or excel file. Assam has been one of the few states to publish machine-readable versions of budget files consistently since 2019. This allowed us to extend the functionality of the Budgets for Justice platform to analyse Assam state’s budgets around law and justice. The state-level platform can now be used to dissect spending under three grants - Jails, Administration of Justice and Police for the state of Assam.
Recently, we launched the platform in Assam and conducted a workshop to discuss how the budget can be used as a tool for advocacy. More details are in this blog.
We look forward to hearing all your ideas and suggestions on how we can make the process of exploring and analysing budgets easier and more accessible. Do comment or reach out to us if you have any ideas or suggestions.
We are curating a new dataset to study the child protection ecosystem in India
We are thrilled to announce that JusticeHub and our partners at Enfold Protective Trust have been awarded a grant by the Patrick J McGovern Foundation as part of the “Data to Safeguard Human Rights Accelerator”. This grant will enable us to study the judicial implementation of the major child protection laws in India - The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act and the Child Marriage Restraint Act.
The two primary outputs of this project will be
A dataset of cases registered under these acts all across the country through eCourts. This will allow us to gain a better understanding of the current state of child protection-related legislation in India and identify areas of concern.
An exploratory study based on court registry data and judgments that would help us identify the exact provisions of these laws applied, and gaps in the implementation and interpretations of these acts in select States.
We look forward to using this opportunity to create more comprehensive datasets in the domain of child protection that can be used to inform and empower individuals, organisations, and governments to protect children from all forms of exploitation.
Other developments in the D4J ecosystem
Analysing Indian court judgements is difficult - they are lengthy and verbose. However, there are a few details in the judgements which tell us about the working of the law and the history of offences like - The charges, punishments, relationships between parties, and place of offence etc., This information may reveal patterns in crimes and in turn help us prevent them. But it is an arduous task to read and extract information manually. This is where Artificial Intelligence can come in the aid of legal research! – OpenNyAI.
OpenNyAI is an open-source NLP (Natural Language Processing) pipeline for Indian Legal documents, developed by a wide community of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and students. It can quickly identify patterns like PRECEDENT, STATUTE, JUDGE NAME etc., present in each of the lakhs of Indian court judgements. It can also summarise lengthy Indian court judgements concisely.
We hope that OpenNyAI helps in the datafication of Indian legal texts and contributes to data-driven legal research.
The Judicial Data Collaborative
The team at DAKSH has been at the forefront of several important initiatives around law and justice system reforms and access to justice. They recently launched the Judicial Data Collaborative - A diverse community of individuals and organisations dedicated to solving common problems that limit empirical work on the justice system.
Justice Hub is excited to be a part of this initiative. We look forward to collaborating with others to work on challenges that enable more people to discover and use data to study and reform our legal and judicial systems and machinery. Let us know if you’re interested to join and we’ll add you to the collaborative.
If you have anything to share or learn about the judicial data, JusticeHub or the D4J ecosystem in general, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.