Winners of Agami Data for Justice Challenge declared
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Winners of Agami Data for Justice Challenge declared

Bar & Bench

Agami has announced the selection of the teams for its Data for Justice Challenge. The teams selected are CivicDataLab, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Project 39A, Haq Centre for Child Rights (HAQ) and IGIDR Finance Research Group (IGIDR).

Launched in May 2019, Agami’s Data for Justice Challenge tasked participants with:

  • Creating a Hub (Track 1) as a public good that will combine technology with design to encourage users to share, build upon and co-create law and justice data, or
  • Proposing Creation of Datasets (Track 2) in law and justice and commit to sharing them on the Hub.

Agami received 50 applications from a wide cross-section of organisations and individuals, from which 7 finalists were shortlisted for the final jury. 

The selection of the winners for both tracks was made by a five member jury comprising of Rahul Matthan, Partner at Trilegal; Achal Prabhala, fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation and convenor of the AccessIBSA Project; Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convenor of NCPRI and founder of Satarknagrik Sangathan; Sandeep Sinha, co-founder and managing partner of operating investment firm Lumis Partners; and Sitansu Sekhar Mahapatra, a new media and communication professional associated with the Open Government Data Initiative of India and National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy.

Members of the Jury amidst deliberations
Members of the Jury amidst deliberations

A dedicated fund of Rs 1 crore has been earmarked to support the teams selected under both tracks – to lead the creation of the Hub and develop data-driven projects that will first use the Hub. The inputs of over 130 lawyers, civil society organisations, journalists and researchers went into framing this Challenge.

For Track 1, the jury selected CivicDataLab to build the Hub for law and justice data. CivicDataLab is an organisation that uses data, tech, design and social science to strengthen the course of civic engagements in India harnessing the potential of open-source movement.

Gaurav Godhwani of CivicDataLab said that they are thrilled and excited to start work on creating the Hub.

Gaurav Godhwani of CivicDataLab
Gaurav Godhwani of CivicDataLab

We are thrilled to have been selected to co-create Justice Hub – an open platform to enable the sharing of data, knowledge and community collaborations in the legal and justice space in India. We envisage this Hub will foster more data-driven decision making and facilitate making justice more open, accessible and actionable for everyone.

For Track 2, the jury selected the following four teams:

  • National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) to work on contract enforcement data set,
  • Project 39A at National Law University, Delhi to work on death penalty sentencing data set,
  • Haq Centre for Child Rights (HAQ) to work on a child protection law implementation tracker, and
  • IGIDR Finance Research Group (IGIDR) to work on company-level litigation data set.

Devendra Damle of NIPFP commented,

Data-driven research in judicial studies is still a budding field in India and we congratulate Agami on their Data for Justice initiative. A robust contract enforcement regime is critical for sustaining healthy business activity – we are excited to work with Agami on this and hope to make significant contributions towards figuring out how to improve contract enforcement in India.

Rahul Matthan, who was part of the jury, spoke about the need for this kind of technological initiative in India.

I’ve always believed that we need to leverage data if we are to have any hope of finding solutions to our justice delivery problems. The Agami Data for Justice Challenge is a great way to catalyze this by creating a repository for justice data. It was great to be a part of the jury and to hear presentations from seven data projects that took different approaches to the challenge of using data to throw light on specific justice delivery challenges.

The Data for Justice Challenge is supported by a wide range of collaborators and partners. The Expert Partner for the Challenge is the Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance (CLPG), NLU Delhi while the Thought Partner is Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focused on social impact. Agami Partners include impact investor Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies, leading law firm Trilegal and social innovation network Ashoka. 

Supriya Sankaran, co-founder of Agami, pointed to the future of where this Challenge is now headed.

Agami co-founder Supriya Sankaran
Agami co-founder Supriya Sankaran

The idea behind Agami’s Data for Justice Challenge is to enable a culture of open data and resources. By building the GitHub equivalent for law and justice and leveraging latent resources that exist within the community, we envision creating a public highway for a wide range of users—civil society organisations, journalists, students, researchers, etc—to use towards improving transparency, accountability and efficiency.

As part of its larger efforts for free and open data, Agami is also asking prominent organisations to sign a pledge to openly share datasets and information generated in the legal and justice ecosystem. Agami will also organise a special dataroom at its annual Summit in November to showcase how data is being harvested, used and visualised to improve legal and justice systems. 

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