Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has established an "in-house think tank", Centre for Research and Planning (CRP). The mandate of the think-tank is to "strengthen the knowledge infrastructure" of the Supreme Court. CRP will aim to assist the Supreme Court in systematizing the processes and methods used for "acquiring, generating and managing legal and inter-disciplinary knowledge needed by the courts".

 

Background:

Key take-aways from the 2nd November Press Release:

  • A Focus on SC's jurisprudence: The press-release states that a focal point of CRP's research will be the "contribution of the Supreme Court of India to the development of law".
  • Judgments in Simple English: CRP will prepare summaries of key judgments in non-technical language.
  • Independent: The press-release states that CRP will be "independent and bias free" and present research on all "major points of view".
  • Open to Public: All research output will be published on a "permanent and accessible database".

 

It appears that CRP will be much more than a mere SC research wing, geared towards reducing the SC's workload. The aim appears to be broader and more long term :

  • Direct collaboration of Judges with scholars and researchers.
  • Independent Research which will be directly accessible to Judges.
  • Long Term thematic research in different areas of law and not individual case-centric approach.
  • Popularizing the Supreme Court by making its interventions and judgments widely accessible.

 

As of now, the CRP has not released its management structure nor its selection processes.

 

Our recommendations

Currently, the Supreme Court struggles to consistently release data on pendency, filing and disposal rates. For example, in 2013 the Supreme Court released pendency data on a monthly basis, while in 2015 the Court only released data on pendency 3 times. In addition to the inconsistency in the frequency of the releases, the Supreme Court is inconsistent about the kind of data it releases. For example, the Supreme Court does not include information on the number of "Admission Matters" and the number of "Regular Hearings" in every release. 

 

It must be noted that the Supreme Court does release all relevant information on pendency in its Annual Reports. Nevertheless, it would be very helpful for independent researchers to have access to this data on running, monthly basis. The Supreme Court must be commended for consistently releasing data on a roughly monthly basis this year, in 2018.

 

We would like to encourage the Centre for Research and Planning to assist the Supreme Court in releasing consistent monthly data on pendency. In particular, it would be very helpful if the CRP could present the data in a more functional format, such as in the form of data tables and graphs paired with short written explanations. This will allow researchers and even lay-persons to easily understand and analyze the issues surrounding pendency in the apex Court. Ultimately, this will contribute to CJI Gogoi's aim of making the Supreme Court more accountable and transparent.