DAKSH High Court Data Portal

Given a growing interest in understanding the nature of cases and their lifecycle in High Courts across India, DAKSH is pleased to launch the first initiative to explore High Court judicial data. As part of this initiative, we are delighted to expand the horizons of open data in the judicial space by making case and hearing records available directly to researchers and interested citizens. We hope that a deep dive into this data can help us all understand judicial institutions, particularly the High Courts in a better way. The data will also shed some light on how many citizens approach High Courts to appeal decisions made by lower courts and how many seek consideration in matters of original jurisdiction.

This High Court Data Portal and dataset release mark the first time High Court data are made available by a team of researchers in an accessible and easily analysable format. We hope it will be useful to understand what types of cases they include, how much judicial time they take up and the time they take to be disposed.

Video Explainer

APPROACH

Background:

Between January and February 2021, the DAKSH team scraped case and hearing records for 23 out of 25 High Courts across India through the eCourts mobile application. The raw data files contained 87 fields in the Case table and 41 in the Hearing table – however many of these fields were not filled up or contained high volumes of null values. The data was cleaned and prepared using a similar process to that previously adopted for District and Sessions courts but with some modifications (described here).
 
Due to discrepancies in data between the Case and Hearing tables, only High Courts with at least 85% of cases appearing in both tables have been identified for the first round of dataset release and analysis. Efforts are ongoing to address this data quality issue in other High Courts and validate these data against the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) as well as High Court notifications.  
 
As a first step, we chose to make a subset of data from six High Courts over a 10-year period available for analysis, visualisation and discussion around judicial capacity & performance. The inaugural dataset release in this project contains cases that can be categorised as writ petitions and related matters; these make up a surprising share of cases in front of High Courts and reveal a great deal about the many ways citizens seek to hold Government actors accountable.

What are Writ Petitions and associated cases?

Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, a citizen can approach the relevant High Court for restoration of rights, including those guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution. The petitioner/s request specific relief to be granted through the issuance of directions or orders to the respondent party/parties to protect their rights.

This data is reflective of the High Courts’ classification of cases as Writs. It should be noted that each High Court has its own approach to classify cases as Writs. Thus, our categorising cases as Writs is a combination of reading High Court case type notifications (where available); referring to the respective High Court’s case categories as specified on the eCourts website; and discussions with practitioners from relevant High Courts where clarifications were needed. This last element was crucial to understand courts in which broader categories covered, but were not technically limited to Writs.

In addition, we have also taken into consideration Writ Appeal cases, wherever they are specified as separate case types by respective High Courts.

This High Court Data Portal consists of two elements: an interactive Dashboard and visualiser and datasets containing over 5.86 lakh case records and 32 lakh hearing records from six High Courts.

This High Court (Writ) dataset will be useful for anyone seeking to explore –
– what fields are digitised when Cases are filed and as they progress through multiple hearings in High Courts;
– trends in increasing and decreasing volumes of litigation before High Courts and how they impact backlog of cases;
– (for Writ cases specifically), what types of Government actors are named as Respondents across states and what types of complaints drive citizens to file court cases;
– case lifecycles not just in terms of calendar days, but also in terms of how many hearings they require and how case scheduling can affect days between hearings;
– roughly how much time Writ cases take for disposal (in comparison to other case types before the same High Courts) 
– the range of calendar days taken for disposal, measures of central tendency or percentage of cases disposed within particular time periods as well as what these methods of assessing disposal tell us about the “performance” of different High Courts.
 
We hope this project, through multiple iterations, is able to bring open datasets and data platforms together in an innovative way. If you have any questions or concerns, or any feedback regarding this platform, please write to us at info@dakshindia.org

OPEN DATA

Accessing DAKSH High Court (Writ) datasets

Disclaimer: The analyses shown on the platform emerge from primary data collected from the eCourts app. While all efforts have been made to ensure the completeness of information, there are gaps in the data that was available, which may impact our findings. Any inadvertent errors in the analyses are those of DAKSH alone. The DAKSH database seeks to make data regarding the judiciary publicly available in an analysable format for easy access and use by all stakeholders in the justice system to understand the functioning of the judiciary.

DAKSH may update, supplement or remove material from these datasets at any time.

The DAKSH High Court Writ dataset is made available under the CC By Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

Datasets if reproduced or used for research purposes, should be accurate and are not to be used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Wherever the material is being published or issued to others, the source must be prominently acknowledged. 

Please provide the following details and press Submit. You will receive a link to download available datasets.

If you use this dataset for research or other purposes, please cite as:

DAKSH India. 2022. DAKSH High Court Writ dataset (2010-2019). Retrieved from [url]. [Accessed Day Month Year]

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