Adjudicating Litigotiation: A Snapshot of Cases Filed in the Family Court of Mumbai between 2010-2014
Prashant Iyengar. “Adjudicating ‘Litigotiation’ - Cases Filed in the Mumbai Family Court.” Economic and Political Weekly 51, no. 23 (June 4, 2016).
24 Pages Posted: 9 May 2015 Last revised: 9 Jun 2016
Date Written: April 10, 2015
How does litigation fare in Indian courts? How long do cases last and how are they disposed? Do men and women litigate equally and do they receive equal justice? In this paper, I offer a statistical 'snapshot' of litigation in the Family Court of Mumbai during the 5 year period between 2010-2014. Using data extracted from about 32000 cases made available online by the Family Court, I was able to arrive at indicative figures for the gender distribution of litigants, average disposal times, the manner of disposal, and the primary grounds of seeking relief.
The data presented in this paper indicates that family courts today largely serve as venues for what Marc Galanter has, in the American context, termed ‘Litigotiation’ – the “strategic pursuit of (mediated) resolution through mobilizing the court process”. The data also reveals latent patterns of discrimination in the adjudication of women’s economic rights.
This paper is offered as a modest demonstration of the potential that methodologies of jurimetrics, elsewhere titled “digital humanities” can offer to Indian legal research.
Keywords: Family Law, Jurimetrics, India, Divorce, Mumbai, Average Hearing Times, Manner of Disposal, Statistics, Courts, Judiciary,
JEL Classification: K19, K00, K40, K41, J12
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