Summer of Data is a 5-week program focused on bringing more law students into the open justice data movement. In this first edition of the Summer of Data Program, law students collaborated under the mentorship of Prof. Rangin Pallav Tripathy of NLU Odisha and CivicDataLab to create a dataset that profiles the backgrounds of High Court Judges from across India.
Data (or the lack thereof) on judges, their backgrounds, tenure and professional trajectory can tell us a lot about the judicial system. It can reveal the diversity and transparency of the institution on a range of parameters. Equally it can unravel systemic factors that affect the composition and impact of the institution.
The entire program was conducted online between May 31st-July 2nd, 2021. The data curation exercise was followed by rounds of data validations that involved manual and automated checks to ensure that the quality of datasets is not compromised. The output of this collaborative process is a public dataset titled - Know Your High Court Judges (KHOJ). The dataset was launched on September 17th, 2022. This public dataset contains information about the background, education, experience of judges before and after judicial appointments. Overall, there are 43 inidicators available for 1708 judges who were appointed between 6 October 1993-31 May 2021. The dataset contains 26 files, with 25 files dedicated to each High Court and one integrated master file. The master file features each judge only once, even if they feature many times across different High Courts (which is the case with many judges due to their transfers). All datasets and related documentation resources can be accessed on the Justice Hub.
A shout-out to the team at Internet Freedom Foundation, Adv. Namit Saxena and Adv. Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj for inspiring the students, by sharing their stories and several key insights around data driven work in the areas of law and justice, during the guest sessions.