Over the next three years, a professor at an Indiana law school will be working on a study of India’s trial courts as part of a $261,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to a non-governmental association based in India.
Jayanth Krishnan of Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, a professor and head of the India Initiative at the school’s Center on the Global Legal Profession, will be the project director for the study that will look at district courts in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh, as well as forums for alternative dispute resolution in India.
In a press release the law school issued Thursday, Krishnan said that between 30,000 and 40,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court of India and in the lower courts the number is likely in the tens of millions.
Krishnan has been traveling and was unable to answer questions in time for today’s deadline. However, during an interview for an article about the law school’s work with India for the Sept. 2-15, 2009, edition of Indiana Lawyer, Krishnan said it was considered typical for a case in India to last 10 years, and some cases last as long as 30 years.
He said there weren’t many options for the average Indian other than to wait it out, and that the backlog for cases has gotten so bad that it is just accepted that cases will take a long time to be resolved.
A year ago he also said there was little empirical research available about ADR in India, but the country’s government had been considering it as one solution to the backlog in the courts, and had been providing forums for ADR.
The National Centre for Advocacy Studies, which received the grant from the Ford Foundation for the 3-year study, is based in the state of Maharashtra, India. That organization is partnering with two other human rights organizations in India that focus on access to justice issues: the Centre for Social Justice, and Jagori Grameen.
Krishnan’s work with the study will contribute to the school’s Center on the Global Legal Profession, which includes internships and other partnerships with law schools and legal systems, such as China and South Korea.
A more in-depth article about Krishnan’s work with the study and the Center on the Global Legal Profession will appear in a future print edition of Indiana Lawyer.