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Courts in Development Economics

In this episode, we talk to Manaswini Rao on using rigorous quantitative methods to study courts and the judicial process. Manaswini Rao is an economist and researcher who studies the functioning of the Indian judiciary and how it affects economic productivity and development.  She joins us to discuss this emerging field of study and how it can inform policy changes. We emphasise the importance of building a community that can engage with the issues highlighted by such studies and act as advocates for structural judicial reforms.

If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/

Show Notes

  1. Support us by Donating.

  2. Manaswini Rao. “Courts Redux: Micro-Evidence from India”. 2021. http://manaswinirao.github.io/files/rao_courts.pdf

  3. Manaswini Rao. “Institutional Factors of Credit Allocation: Examining the Role of Judicial Capacity and Bankruptcy Reforms”. 2019. http://manaswinirao.github.io/files/rao_bankruptcy_and_judiciary.pdf 

Smita: Hello, and welcome to the DAKSH podcast. I am your host Smita. I work with DAKSH, a Bangalore based non-profit working on judicial reforms and access to justice. Judicial institutions in India, both courts and tribunals are specialized public institutions driven by complex legal principles and patterns of precedents. But what can we discover when we shift focus from the philosophy and examined legal outcomes through the lens of hard data? Statistical methods can yield rich insights into how such bodies can be more accessible, efficient, and accountable to the public. In this episode of the duck podcast, we sat down with Dr. Manaswini Rao, an applied economist and researcher at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a frequent advisor and collaborator for DAKSH. In her earlier research, she has explored court’s role in implementing economic reforms, and how parties on both sides are affected during litigation. Manaswini has joined us today to talk about the immense potential of judicial data to help strengthen the functioning of these institutions. I began by asking her, given her background as a development economist, what drew her to study the Indian court system.

Manaswini: Courts are actually pretty central, you know, in economics, because kind of, it is implicitly assumed that you have well-functioning courts for contract enforcement. And then also, of course, there is a huge literature on human rights, protection of human rights and in economics, from the point of view of economics too, where you know, you think of access to formal justice institutions and judiciary is important, where particularly local norms, right could be detrimental for certain vulnerable population, rotating female, you know, all kinds of minorities, underrepresented minorities, and so on. So in that sense, like, courts are pretty important and central for, like the development process. And so, in my earlier work, the motivation was, you know, this whole contract enforcement channel, where courts actually played a dual role, one which has carved out how it’s important to build trust in markets and so on, because you have like courts are like regulators, whether it’s individuals engaging in contracts, or businesses, which we call firms and economics jargon. So they think about businesses or we’re engaged with each other, is there is a well-functioning court system that kind of on the long run has impact on trust and market and so on. But the other aspect, which kind of what my work tries to shed light on is the transactional nature of courts, right. And the current title of my paper is Frontline Courts As State Capacity. And so the transactional nature of courts are basically what economists call, they play a role in allocative efficiency. So in the sense, you think about these resources, or factors of production, as we call it stuck in litigation, whether be credit or land that’s stuck in this litigation, they’re not put to their most productive use. And so, if courts function better, and there is a, you know, resolution on that dispute, then you can think about that resolution, sort of helping that resource to be allocated more efficiently. So, in that sense, like, you can see how courts are kind of central to economics, because they are sort of the facilitator of markets. And personally, I am a development economist, I’m part of the economists who study the process of economic development. My own background on another track of research, I’ve studied a lot about local norms, social networks, informal institutions, and so on. So it’s like, two sides of the coin, right? Like how do village networks, enforce certain norms, and is important for collective action and coordination, whether you’re managing local village pond or like agricultural land for grazing and so on, on the one hand, and then you want to like see, okay, then how do formal processes and institutions like the judiciary then come into play when you want to sort of go from a village economy to a large behemoth of an economy which a state is or a country is. So, in that sense, like, I feel like both types of research questions that I study sort of fits into the broader agenda or research interests of economic development.

Smita: Thank you so much. That definitely makes a lot of sense. But I think what you’re doing now is you’re looking specifically at motor vehicle, tribunals and accident cases, right, if I’m not wrong, what are you trying to explore? And what are you trying to look at?

Manaswini: From my previous research, and I’ve seen the local judicial capacities affected a lot by personnel who are basically judges, right, that actually make courts function. If you don’t have judges, like that courtroom has basically sitting vacant or you have like a tempt judge who’s handling the docket, right? And so you know, the kinds of problems that bring. And so then I got to think about like, how do we learn more about Judge productivity constraint? Each of us have our own productivity process, right. And I could be slow economist or fast economists, they could be certain incentives that make me work better or not. And so with this motor vehicle tribunal, what was interesting is that it’s sort of the natural experiment, quote, unquote, which means that it’s like a part of context or a policy where you can basically tease out what are the basic causes and consequences of Judge level productivity on case resolution, and ultimately, welfare. So that’s what we are interested in. And so the interesting thing about motor vehicle tribunals and accident cases are that the same carter of judges from district courts are appointed to MACTs. And you know, so they kind of go in and out of these tribunals, which are more sort of specialized courts, where you have a streamlined types of cases that you have to work on versus when you’re in a district court, you know, you probably have like motor vehicle cases, along with murder cases, and like debt recovery cases, and so on. So you have like much more complexity in regular courts. And so by tracking the same judge who moves in and out of these motor vehicle tribunals to regular courts, and vice versa, hopefully, we can uncover some key parameters of Judge level productivity and then see like whether, you know, having similar case types, would that sort of boost their productivity? Which means, you know, is there a case for tribunalizing? I mean, of course that’s a broad, broad question. But that’s sort of a key motivation, right? Like, what are the pitfalls or benefits of tribunalization? Is it purely from the productivity side? Or then what happens on the welfare of the litigants, you know, if you just are much more productive from a quantity perspective, and then what happens to the quality so hopefully, you know, the fact that there is this really nice context in India that provides us using this motor vehicle tribunals as a natural experiment, as they call it, we can uncover some of these interesting facts, which will be very, very hard to kind of document otherwise, right? Because it’s really hard to tell a high court say, “Give these types of cases to a particular judge and let’s see what happens.” Right? So these kinds of like, experiments are hard to do in judiciary. And so yeah, we look for such things that occur naturally, because of some rule or policy and institutional context that allows us to study these.

Smita: I think that idea of the fact that there is a natural experiment, and all you have to do is observe it, that in especially kind of an access to justice in a judicial context, it’s much easier to do and it makes much more sense than trying to say, let’s have a control here and an experiment there. And maybe some people will get access to justice faster, and others won’t, just because of the nature of that experiment that’s being set up. So yeah, I think that institutional structure definitely does make sense as a thing to do observe and try and see. When we look at the kinds of data driven studies that are increasingly gaining prominence and making up a larger share of the kinds of research that’s done on these kinds of institutions. What are the kinds of either institutional or policy problems that data can help very clearly reveal, pinpoint or better diagnose?

Manaswini: Yeah, so I think I mean, well, statistics are like what we economists call it economic track. So you created a row in Southfield. I think the key importance of this toolkit is to gain population level insights. And so for that you need like records and records of data and then to separate signal from noise. So you want to be able to discern, you want to like sort of minimize the noise and to see if there’s a clear relationship between two variables of interest. Now, the advantage of like having empirical studies is that you use these toolkits to verify certain facts and causal relationship at the population level. Obviously, whenever we calculate an estimate, it always comes with a confidence interval, which means that we are 95% confident that the estimate lies between point A and point B, right? And then you give the midpoint as sort of, hey, that’s a good estimate. And so in the sense, the statistical toolkit is sort of rigorous in that sense that like that, you know, there’s also bells and whistles and you know, and you have to like present this work, a bunch of checks and balances, peer review presentations, and so on to kind of make sure that what you’re doing is correct before sort of you get to a place where you say, look, here’s a study that shows this is sort of the breaking news kind of thing. And so we are careful about that, like not making, although, there are some studies that like to, you know, sort of catch the headline and so on. But sort of in general, and empirical stereo well executed, careful empirical study is sort of, again, be sort of very useful when you are thinking about policy problems. And so, what policy you ask about what specific policy problems can these studies help reveal? That that really depends on the particular study, right, in the sense that too, just to give you an example of the effects of court congestion, right? So there’s a bunch of studies, good empirical research that’s already documented the sort of consequences of court congestions. But the interesting variation is, what are the sources of these congestions. So they’re a bunch of studies that have looked at changes in laws that alter the congestion levels, there’s some studies that look at changes in debt recovery tribunal is coming up, that kind of like, reduces the congestion and so on. And what I look at is basically personnel policies, like dude, you have vacancies, right. And so that’s sort of creating congestion. And so each of these different types of studies have different policy implications. What I would say is like, hire more judges, for example, changes in laws that has led to like variation in court congestion, there’s a hey, then be careful when you’re drafting laws, right? So there are different implications that come out of study that really depends on like, what the study is trying to answer and how they’re trying to answer that. But you can see there’s a bunch of different types of policy reforms and suggestions that can come out of it.

Smita: Yeah, how interested and receptive have you found decision makers in the Indian context, to be responsive to such studies and such kind of work, because we have this idea that being very complicated, or being very kind of throwing a lot of numbers will scare a lot of decision makers. So is there cause to be kind of hopeful about the ways that these kinds of studies are actually impacting policy and impacting the way institutions are structured.

Manaswini: I mean, I would probably give credit to all those people whose shoulders I stand on, right, like huge credit goes to them. And I think like DAKSH is like a really nice bridge and that’s where you sort of understand both sides is one of the important stakeholders and sort of like bringing everybody to the table to have the discussion. So those kinds of opportunities are very useful, because then that is the hope, right? Where you know, that like some policymaker will be part of such platforms, who will then like, at least listen to what you have to say, even if they may not act on what you have to say. But like, at least there is that information exchange in the dialogue that’s happening. So the thing is like, it also depends on what kind of report you provide. You’re not obviously going to send them an academic paper. So you have different products based on your research, academic papers, go to your academic peer reviewers, and that has its own special whatever it goes to journals, and so on. But what kind of report you provide the policymaker is different. So the key number that a policymaker would be interested in would be something as cost benefit analysis estimate, right? So this is something that we borrow from public finance a lot where public finance actually those groups, they work a lot with, actually people who sit in the budget office, at least in the US, so they work very close in, I don’t know, the state is in India, but like, I know, it is also catching up. But if you can put a number so like, look, every year when you have to make the budget, you know, you’re making expenditures, and you’re keeping track of revenue. If you know that is your expenditure, and some scheme today is going to generate three times revenue like five years later, then you, Oh, okay, that’s definitely a you know, place to put my money in. Giving that number would be more useful for a policymaker than sort of giving some causal estimate for something which is, cannot be translated to a cost benefit analysis. So I think it’s a depends on what you present to what audience is important.

Smita: I think that’s exactly right. We’ve seen in a lot of our work, of DAKSH as well, that when it comes to certain whether it’s a perception study, whether it’s some kind of a report that kind of tries to highlight, like, again, not bury the lead, but be like, this is the important thing to keep in mind and everything else is just explanation and context and maybe options of what can be done once we all accept that this is somehow a common objective truth, and not just a thing that one of us has interpreted or, or spun out of what it’s actually representing. But so, with that, I think, is there anything that you would want to kind of plug from a general engagement and understanding perspective of maybe some kind of a collaboration or report that’s very exciting and interesting to keep tabs on?

Manaswini: So there is this greater engagement or interest in judiciary in developing countries, right, particularly India. So a lot more economists, at least me because that’s my field are getting interested in this. So hopefully, you would now judicial data opening up right with the e-courts data sort of being available to various platforms like e-courts itself, there would be a lot more work that’s going to be coming out from this India. So in that sense like India judiciary is going to is on a global map, right in terms of the quality of data, of course, I mean, you may say that oh, no e-courts data is still, like, you know, it has a lot of noise. And there’s a lot of issues with that. But yeah, despite that, like it is basically the universe of the litigation over the specific over a specific time period that’s very relevant. So, apart from this motor vehicle act, I mean, I know a lot of my colleagues are working on, like I mentioned, domestic violence, you know, POCSO, and those types of issues, which are super important. So that’s something that you can keep an eye out for. And, you know, the idea is, hopefully, like, they also find a way to kind of in dialogue with the policymakers to kind of make those changes. You work closely with specific state governments or Department of Justices, or whoever the stakeholders are, right. But it could be also the police department, for example, because the justice sector is basically courts, cops and people. So hopefully, there’s more work out there that sort of covers all these three branches. And what you’re doing, I mean, the DAKSH, like, I really mean, I, but I think what you’re doing, bringing all the stakeholders together in working in the India justice spaces is important because at least you’re keeping the dialogue open between different types of people who are studying this issue is very important, because you get ideas, not for not just research, but also like, what are the key policy issues that you will push right? Like what are the low hanging foods that can be pushed with would have largest impact rather than like chasing something that may be really, really hard to achieve? And so on. So having these kinds of like conversation and dialogue between people who have a lot of contextual knowledge and with people who have data skills with people who have coding skills, you know, is I think important to kind of have these types of platforms that you’re building.

Smita: That was my conversation with Manaswini Rao and you were listening to the DAKSH podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, do consider supporting us with a donation. The link is in the show notes below. Creating this podcast takes effort and your support will help us sustain a space for these quality conversations. To find out more about us and our visit our work, website, dakshindia.org That’s D-A-K-S-H india.org. Do not forget to tap, follow and subscribe to us wherever you listen to your podcasts so that you don’t miss an episode. We would love to hear from you so to share your feedback, either by dropping us a review or rating the podcast where podcast apps allow you to. Talk about it on social media. We are using the hashtag dakshpodcast. It really helps us to get the word out. Most of all, if you found some useful information that might help a friend or family member, share the episode with them. A special thank you to our production team at ‘Made in India’, our production head Niketana K, edited, mixed and mastered by Lakshman Parshuram and project supervision by Shawn Phantom.

Smita: Hello, and welcome to the DAKSH podcast. I am your host Smita. I work with DAKSH, a Bangalore based non-profit working on judicial reforms and access to justice. Judicial institutions in India, both courts and tribunals are specialized public institutions driven by complex legal principles and patterns of precedents. But what can we discover when we shift focus from the philosophy and examined legal outcomes through the lens of hard data? Statistical methods can yield rich insights into how such bodies can be more accessible, efficient, and accountable to the public. In this episode of the duck podcast, we sat down with Dr. Manaswini Rao, an applied economist and researcher at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a frequent advisor and collaborator for DAKSH. In her earlier research, she has explored court’s role in implementing economic reforms, and how parties on both sides are affected during litigation. Manaswini has joined us today to talk about the immense potential of judicial data to help strengthen the functioning of these institutions. I began by asking her, given her background as a development economist, what drew her to study the Indian court system.

Manaswini: Courts are actually pretty central, you know, in economics, because kind of, it is implicitly assumed that you have well-functioning courts for contract enforcement. And then also, of course, there is a huge literature on human rights, protection of human rights and in economics, from the point of view of economics too, where you know, you think of access to formal justice institutions and judiciary is important, where particularly local norms, right could be detrimental for certain vulnerable population, rotating female, you know, all kinds of minorities, underrepresented minorities, and so on. So in that sense, like, courts are pretty important and central for, like the development process. And so, in my earlier work, the motivation was, you know, this whole contract enforcement channel, where courts actually played a dual role, one which has carved out how it’s important to build trust in markets and so on, because you have like courts are like regulators, whether it’s individuals engaging in contracts, or businesses, which we call firms and economics jargon. So they think about businesses or we’re engaged with each other, is there is a well-functioning court system that kind of on the long run has impact on trust and market and so on. But the other aspect, which kind of what my work tries to shed light on is the transactional nature of courts, right. And the current title of my paper is Frontline Courts As State Capacity. And so the transactional nature of courts are basically what economists call, they play a role in allocative efficiency. So in the sense, you think about these resources, or factors of production, as we call it stuck in litigation, whether be credit or land that’s stuck in this litigation, they’re not put to their most productive use. And so, if courts function better, and there is a, you know, resolution on that dispute, then you can think about that resolution, sort of helping that resource to be allocated more efficiently. So, in that sense, like, you can see how courts are kind of central to economics, because they are sort of the facilitator of markets. And personally, I am a development economist, I’m part of the economists who study the process of economic development. My own background on another track of research, I’ve studied a lot about local norms, social networks, informal institutions, and so on. So it’s like, two sides of the coin, right? Like how do village networks, enforce certain norms, and is important for collective action and coordination, whether you’re managing local village pond or like agricultural land for grazing and so on, on the one hand, and then you want to like see, okay, then how do formal processes and institutions like the judiciary then come into play when you want to sort of go from a village economy to a large behemoth of an economy which a state is or a country is. So, in that sense, like, I feel like both types of research questions that I study sort of fits into the broader agenda or research interests of economic development.

Smita: Thank you so much. That definitely makes a lot of sense. But I think what you’re doing now is you’re looking specifically at motor vehicle, tribunals and accident cases, right, if I’m not wrong, what are you trying to explore? And what are you trying to look at?

Manaswini: From my previous research, and I’ve seen the local judicial capacities affected a lot by personnel who are basically judges, right, that actually make courts function. If you don’t have judges, like that courtroom has basically sitting vacant or you have like a tempt judge who’s handling the docket, right? And so you know, the kinds of problems that bring. And so then I got to think about like, how do we learn more about Judge productivity constraint? Each of us have our own productivity process, right. And I could be slow economist or fast economists, they could be certain incentives that make me work better or not. And so with this motor vehicle tribunal, what was interesting is that it’s sort of the natural experiment, quote, unquote, which means that it’s like a part of context or a policy where you can basically tease out what are the basic causes and consequences of Judge level productivity on case resolution, and ultimately, welfare. So that’s what we are interested in. And so the interesting thing about motor vehicle tribunals and accident cases are that the same carter of judges from district courts are appointed to MACTs. And you know, so they kind of go in and out of these tribunals, which are more sort of specialized courts, where you have a streamlined types of cases that you have to work on versus when you’re in a district court, you know, you probably have like motor vehicle cases, along with murder cases, and like debt recovery cases, and so on. So you have like much more complexity in regular courts. And so by tracking the same judge who moves in and out of these motor vehicle tribunals to regular courts, and vice versa, hopefully, we can uncover some key parameters of Judge level productivity and then see like whether, you know, having similar case types, would that sort of boost their productivity? Which means, you know, is there a case for tribunalizing? I mean, of course that’s a broad, broad question. But that’s sort of a key motivation, right? Like, what are the pitfalls or benefits of tribunalization? Is it purely from the productivity side? Or then what happens on the welfare of the litigants, you know, if you just are much more productive from a quantity perspective, and then what happens to the quality so hopefully, you know, the fact that there is this really nice context in India that provides us using this motor vehicle tribunals as a natural experiment, as they call it, we can uncover some of these interesting facts, which will be very, very hard to kind of document otherwise, right? Because it’s really hard to tell a high court say, “Give these types of cases to a particular judge and let’s see what happens.” Right? So these kinds of like, experiments are hard to do in judiciary. And so yeah, we look for such things that occur naturally, because of some rule or policy and institutional context that allows us to study these.

Smita: I think that idea of the fact that there is a natural experiment, and all you have to do is observe it, that in especially kind of an access to justice in a judicial context, it’s much easier to do and it makes much more sense than trying to say, let’s have a control here and an experiment there. And maybe some people will get access to justice faster, and others won’t, just because of the nature of that experiment that’s being set up. So yeah, I think that institutional structure definitely does make sense as a thing to do observe and try and see. When we look at the kinds of data driven studies that are increasingly gaining prominence and making up a larger share of the kinds of research that’s done on these kinds of institutions. What are the kinds of either institutional or policy problems that data can help very clearly reveal, pinpoint or better diagnose?

Manaswini: Yeah, so I think I mean, well, statistics are like what we economists call it economic track. So you created a row in Southfield. I think the key importance of this toolkit is to gain population level insights. And so for that you need like records and records of data and then to separate signal from noise. So you want to be able to discern, you want to like sort of minimize the noise and to see if there’s a clear relationship between two variables of interest. Now, the advantage of like having empirical studies is that you use these toolkits to verify certain facts and causal relationship at the population level. Obviously, whenever we calculate an estimate, it always comes with a confidence interval, which means that we are 95% confident that the estimate lies between point A and point B, right? And then you give the midpoint as sort of, hey, that’s a good estimate. And so in the sense, the statistical toolkit is sort of rigorous in that sense that like that, you know, there’s also bells and whistles and you know, and you have to like present this work, a bunch of checks and balances, peer review presentations, and so on to kind of make sure that what you’re doing is correct before sort of you get to a place where you say, look, here’s a study that shows this is sort of the breaking news kind of thing. And so we are careful about that, like not making, although, there are some studies that like to, you know, sort of catch the headline and so on. But sort of in general, and empirical stereo well executed, careful empirical study is sort of, again, be sort of very useful when you are thinking about policy problems. And so, what policy you ask about what specific policy problems can these studies help reveal? That that really depends on the particular study, right, in the sense that too, just to give you an example of the effects of court congestion, right? So there’s a bunch of studies, good empirical research that’s already documented the sort of consequences of court congestions. But the interesting variation is, what are the sources of these congestions. So they’re a bunch of studies that have looked at changes in laws that alter the congestion levels, there’s some studies that look at changes in debt recovery tribunal is coming up, that kind of like, reduces the congestion and so on. And what I look at is basically personnel policies, like dude, you have vacancies, right. And so that’s sort of creating congestion. And so each of these different types of studies have different policy implications. What I would say is like, hire more judges, for example, changes in laws that has led to like variation in court congestion, there’s a hey, then be careful when you’re drafting laws, right? So there are different implications that come out of study that really depends on like, what the study is trying to answer and how they’re trying to answer that. But you can see there’s a bunch of different types of policy reforms and suggestions that can come out of it.

Smita: Yeah, how interested and receptive have you found decision makers in the Indian context, to be responsive to such studies and such kind of work, because we have this idea that being very complicated, or being very kind of throwing a lot of numbers will scare a lot of decision makers. So is there cause to be kind of hopeful about the ways that these kinds of studies are actually impacting policy and impacting the way institutions are structured.

Manaswini: I mean, I would probably give credit to all those people whose shoulders I stand on, right, like huge credit goes to them. And I think like DAKSH is like a really nice bridge and that’s where you sort of understand both sides is one of the important stakeholders and sort of like bringing everybody to the table to have the discussion. So those kinds of opportunities are very useful, because then that is the hope, right? Where you know, that like some policymaker will be part of such platforms, who will then like, at least listen to what you have to say, even if they may not act on what you have to say. But like, at least there is that information exchange in the dialogue that’s happening. So the thing is like, it also depends on what kind of report you provide. You’re not obviously going to send them an academic paper. So you have different products based on your research, academic papers, go to your academic peer reviewers, and that has its own special whatever it goes to journals, and so on. But what kind of report you provide the policymaker is different. So the key number that a policymaker would be interested in would be something as cost benefit analysis estimate, right? So this is something that we borrow from public finance a lot where public finance actually those groups, they work a lot with, actually people who sit in the budget office, at least in the US, so they work very close in, I don’t know, the state is in India, but like, I know, it is also catching up. But if you can put a number so like, look, every year when you have to make the budget, you know, you’re making expenditures, and you’re keeping track of revenue. If you know that is your expenditure, and some scheme today is going to generate three times revenue like five years later, then you, Oh, okay, that’s definitely a you know, place to put my money in. Giving that number would be more useful for a policymaker than sort of giving some causal estimate for something which is, cannot be translated to a cost benefit analysis. So I think it’s a depends on what you present to what audience is important.

Smita: I think that’s exactly right. We’ve seen in a lot of our work, of DAKSH as well, that when it comes to certain whether it’s a perception study, whether it’s some kind of a report that kind of tries to highlight, like, again, not bury the lead, but be like, this is the important thing to keep in mind and everything else is just explanation and context and maybe options of what can be done once we all accept that this is somehow a common objective truth, and not just a thing that one of us has interpreted or, or spun out of what it’s actually representing. But so, with that, I think, is there anything that you would want to kind of plug from a general engagement and understanding perspective of maybe some kind of a collaboration or report that’s very exciting and interesting to keep tabs on?

Manaswini: So there is this greater engagement or interest in judiciary in developing countries, right, particularly India. So a lot more economists, at least me because that’s my field are getting interested in this. So hopefully, you would now judicial data opening up right with the e-courts data sort of being available to various platforms like e-courts itself, there would be a lot more work that’s going to be coming out from this India. So in that sense like India judiciary is going to is on a global map, right in terms of the quality of data, of course, I mean, you may say that oh, no e-courts data is still, like, you know, it has a lot of noise. And there’s a lot of issues with that. But yeah, despite that, like it is basically the universe of the litigation over the specific over a specific time period that’s very relevant. So, apart from this motor vehicle act, I mean, I know a lot of my colleagues are working on, like I mentioned, domestic violence, you know, POCSO, and those types of issues, which are super important. So that’s something that you can keep an eye out for. And, you know, the idea is, hopefully, like, they also find a way to kind of in dialogue with the policymakers to kind of make those changes. You work closely with specific state governments or Department of Justices, or whoever the stakeholders are, right. But it could be also the police department, for example, because the justice sector is basically courts, cops and people. So hopefully, there’s more work out there that sort of covers all these three branches. And what you’re doing, I mean, the DAKSH, like, I really mean, I, but I think what you’re doing, bringing all the stakeholders together in working in the India justice spaces is important because at least you’re keeping the dialogue open between different types of people who are studying this issue is very important, because you get ideas, not for not just research, but also like, what are the key policy issues that you will push right? Like what are the low hanging foods that can be pushed with would have largest impact rather than like chasing something that may be really, really hard to achieve? And so on. So having these kinds of like conversation and dialogue between people who have a lot of contextual knowledge and with people who have data skills with people who have coding skills, you know, is I think important to kind of have these types of platforms that you’re building.

Smita: That was my conversation with Manaswini Rao and you were listening to the DAKSH podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, do consider supporting us with a donation. The link is in the show notes below. Creating this podcast takes effort and your support will help us sustain a space for these quality conversations. To find out more about us and our visit our work, website, dakshindia.org That’s D-A-K-S-H india.org. Do not forget to tap, follow and subscribe to us wherever you listen to your podcasts so that you don’t miss an episode. We would love to hear from you so to share your feedback, either by dropping us a review or rating the podcast where podcast apps allow you to. Talk about it on social media. We are using the hashtag dakshpodcast. It really helps us to get the word out. Most of all, if you found some useful information that might help a friend or family member, share the episode with them. A special thank you to our production team at ‘Made in India’, our production head Niketana K, edited, mixed and mastered by Lakshman Parshuram and project supervision by Shawn Phantom.




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