I am delighted to announce that we have started a new project tentatively titled “The Rule of Law Project” at DAKSH. The initial focus is on collecting and organising data regarding the functioning of the judiciary in India. The lack of well maintained and/or organised information regarding judicial functioning has been highlighted by the Law Commission many times, most recently in its 245th report. This lack of correct data has been, according to many, one of the main reasons why judicial delays have not been studied properly in India. And, lack of good research has meant that sustained and meaningful institutional efforts to address judicial delays have not been initiated. We hope that the Rule of Law project will fill this gap.

We started work in November and have managed to build a database of approximately 5 lakh cases covering 7 High Courts. By the end of 2015, the database will cover all the pending cases in the Supreme Court and High Courts and around 5-10 randomly selected district courts across the country. This will mean that we have details of at least 50 lakh cases by end of 2015. This database will help us measure the life cycle of a case accurately. In the next stage, we are also planning to link the database with the orders passed each time the case has come up (to the extent such orders are available online). We should then be able to properly identify reasons for delay and other related issues.

My colleagues who are working on the project have regularly written about the process of building the database and the issues they have come across on the DAKSH blog. It makes an interesting read even for practicing lawyers who believe they know everything about the Indian courts!

The database will be hosted on a new website and is scheduled for a formal launch on February 7, 2015 in Bangalore by Shri DV Sadananda Gowda, the Union Law Minister.

We welcome feedback, criticism and help on this project!

Written by
Harish Narsappa
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