Date with Data #2

Justice Hub team conducted its second Date with Data last week with Shreya Tripathy (Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy) and Tarika Jain (University College London) and a diverse group of journalists, practicing lawyers, researchers and think tanks discussing the Supreme Court’s case load analysis during the pandemic.

If you missed it, here is a quick recap for you:

  1. Rise in criminal cases in the daily cause list: The study found that there after including diary cases, there was an overall increase of 12% in criminal cases. What’s interesting is that there was a similar percentage (13%) drop in civil cases heard by Supreme Court.

  2. Push for bail applications: The proportion of Special Leave Petitions (SLP) in criminal matters with respect to civil matters being listed shot up significantly. There was a 30% drop in SLP(Civil) and a 2% increase in SLP(Criminal) matters. This could have resulted as push for applications due to fear of transmission of COVID 19 in prisons. Moreover, the some cases may have been filed in Supreme court due to limited filing and use of video conferencing for criminal cases in districts and high courts.

  3. Rise in number of writ petitions and suo-moto cognizance: Out of total 116 cases in April 2020, 60% of the diary cases were civil writ petitions. The data shows that almost all these cases were at the admission stage raising important question - what were the state actions during early month of pandemic resulting in the sudden spike of these cases. Similarly the no. of suo-moto cases contempt and writ petitions as a percentage of total cases increased from 0.03% to 1.4%

  4. Disparity in work allocation: A huge disparity was seen in work allocation with top 5 judges dealing with 46% of the cases. A few judges only appeared on the causelists to pronounce the judgements. This raises a pertinent question whether introduction of technology has created capacity constraints in judiciary.

  5. Availability of data a key challenge: The availability of data through existing courts website makes it extremely tedious to gather sizeable data for analysis. The process of gathering, cleaning and organising has been the most tedious part of this analysis.

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Watch the recording for Date with Data #2

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