Due to the digitisation efforts of the E-committee of the Supreme Court, individual High Courts and Ministry of Law and Justice a lot of judicial data is being collected across the three tiers of the Indian judiciary. Yet the judiciary does not have an open data policy in place to facilitate access to this data in a meaningful manner in order to enable innovation that will help in both, the dissemination of legal information as well as furthering judicial accountability. The discussion on the evolution of open courts is of particular importance in order to address potential privacy concerns that are likely to be raised by opponents of an open data policy.
For the purpose of this report, we have looked at 5 different classes of information and end with the critical issue of translating the law into more Indian languages to guarantee accessibility:
i) Judicial Data regarding case details from e-courts; websites of High Courts and other digital services;
ii) Judicial pleadings;
iii) The judgments of Courts;
iv) The video recordings of court proceedings;
v) Legislative texts;
vi) Translations into more Indian languages.
We explain the historical context for each category of information mentioned above, in order to explain why an open data policy has the impact to revolutionise access to legal information and judicial accountability, both of which are critical pillars for ensuring the rule of law in India. In this backdrop, this report will try to identify bright lines on contentious issues like privacy, commercial confidence and copyright law, to carve out possible exceptions which such an open data policy will ideally have to recognize.