What was the most interesting data experience for you in 2021?
Justice Hub wishes everyone a very Happy New Year 2022! As we know, recent years have seen the trend of data being used as a means to engage with institutions of governance and justice. With the launch of the Justice Hub in February 2021, the platform has been able to initiate conversations around data, law and justice. Before diving into a new and fresh year, we are looking back at some of the interesting data experiences that the team behind Justice Hub has had in the year gone by and their expectations for the future.
Apoorv Anand, Data Strategist, CivicDataLab: “The core of the Justice Hub is our Community of data practitioners who are always curious about using data that leads to action. This was quite evident when during one of our date with data events with Prof. Rangin, the community identified the need of having good quality data for the Judges of the High Court and over the course of the next 3 months, we were able to onboard students from across the country who curated this data in our Summer of Data program. The entire experience of engaging with the community to identify a potential data gap to finding ways to fill those gaps and then making the data accessible and actionable summarises the role of Justice Hub.
Another interesting experience was our collaboration with HAQ-CRC, through which we were able to find our way through the eCourts data by studying almost 20K cases across 3 states and highlighting the challenges faced by the system in dealing with POCSO cases. (The report and datasets are available here.) Setting up fast-track courts sounds like a potential solution to the challenge of speedy justice, but in a diverse country such as ours rarely a one-size-fits-all approach works. We need good quality granular data that can help us pinpoint a few areas and design solutions that work as intended.”
Sachin Malhan, Co-founder, Agami: “For me, it was the discrepancy between the actual conviction rate in POCSO cases and the conviction rate that was mentioned in the Parliament, for example, in 2019, Delhi’s conviction rate is 18.79% whereas the Parliament has mentioned the same as to be 68.4%. We would have not been able to know this difference had HAQ and CDL, with some support from Agami, not built the dataset of POCSO cases, now on Justice Hub, and done such wondrous computations.
Further, in 2021, we became a part of the creation of the annotated data set to develop the automatic rhetorical role structuring model that was just rolled out as BUILDNyAI. Learned so much about developing high-quality legal training data for training AI. I believe that we are only just scratching the surface where it comes to unlocking the power of high-quality data sets in law and justice. I’m looking forward to more efforts to develop the fundamental high-quality data sets that will be used to train AI for Justice, surface critical interventions in important areas of the law, and overall create much greater transparency and accountability overall.”
Smita Gupta, Weaver, Agami: “I took part in the Summer of Data initiative of Justice Hub in June 2021 and helped capture the background details of High Court Judges in India. Among other things, I found out that the Uttarakhand HC has had only 1 female Judge ever with Tripura having not even a single female Judge. It was an absolutely eye-opening and perspective-shifting experience about the justice system in our country and I can’t wait for all the siloed data we unravel and open up this year!”
Samriddhi, Economist and GIS Specialist at CivicDataLab: “I had the chance to work with Union Budget Data for the Law and Justice Sector, that includes data from the ministry of law and justice, department of police and schemes concerning women and child protection. It was interesting to see the fund flow that happens across various ministries and departments on various schemes. Under the allocation of the Ministry of Law and Justice, looking at the data since 2016, the election-related expenditure has contributed between 15 to 65% of the total expenditure of the ministry. This is something that intrigued me to delve deeper in order to understand this huge share. The expenditure amount for election-related heads over the years in itself is an interesting data point that raises interesting questions. As a part of Justice-hub, I am looking forward to developing a better understanding of the fund flow in the law and justice sector in different states with our Budget for Justice initiative and possibly more such initiatives.”
Poornima Rajeshwar, Curator, Agami: “I spent a large part of 2021 working with a team that was tracking and collecting data on the spread of Covid-19 in jails and prisons in the US. While I won't call it the most interesting data point, it was definitely horrifying to see that the case rate among prisoners was sometimes 5/6 times the case rate among the general population. I realize how critical it was, and still is, to collect such data that can highlight the public health crisis behind bars and advocate for mass decarceration. Going forward, at Agami and Justice Hub, I hope to continue to contribute towards making such data available, visible and useful for meaningful legal and justice interventions.”
Saurabh Karn, Curator, Agami: “For me, the most inspiring/hopeful data point was the dataset size in Kaggle competitions. It shows that most of the AI problems (ranging from cancer detection to retinoscopy to finding abusive text) have a 1000-10,000 example set. When we speak about AI the large corporations is the first picture that comes to my mind but this datapoint tells me that it is not just possible but is a reality that most of the impactful problems which could harness the power of AI would need data that is manageable by individuals and organisations even with limited resources. All we need is a strong diverse community.”
Tell us about your data experiences in the comments below.
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