A study has revealed that there is no systematic gender or religion-based discrimination in the district and subordinate criminal courts across India when hearing and deliver judgment. The research was conducted by US-based Development Data Lab.
The study examines several aspects of the court proceedings, which includes bias in Indian Court, judgments on the basis of gender, whether the judgment varies due to gender or religion and the experience of the defendant in contrast with the judge’s identity during the case.
The study discloses that in most cases, the judgments do not hamper due to different gender of the defendant and no favour is given to anyone due to their religion.
“In both of these specifications, we find a robust null estimate of in-group bias among Indian judges,” a statement of the study reads.
Founded by Professor Paul Navosad of Dartmouth College and Professor Sam Asher of Johns Hopkins University SAIS, the Development Data Lab works in association with government, private firms and social organisation to carry out policy-relevant research and knowledge using data.
To substantiate the study, a dataset of eight crore case records of all district and subordinate courts of India was taken into consideration. The sample includes cases from 2010 to 2018 which is available on the government’s official website that can be availed online. The study covers over 7000 districts and subordinate trials and more than 80,000 judges.
This is the first research of its kind analyzing judicial data of India courts covering unequal legal treatment on either India’s gender or religion dimension.
The research states that women constitute 48 per cent of the Indian population out of which only 28 per cent represent in Indian courts as district-level judges. Likewise, India has 14 per cent Muslim population out of which only 7 per cent are representing in Lower Courts.
The study also analyzed judges and defendants on their gender and religion to see if existing structural inequalities led to biased judicial outcomes for women or Muslims.
The research highlighted that on an average substantial better outcome is less likely to occur if judges are dealing with cases related to their own gender and own religion.
The study found that male defendants do not receive better judgments when assigned in front of a male judge and likewise female defendants fail to receive positive outcomes as a judgment when the case is dealt by female judges.
Overall, the study found that while dealing with cases related to Muslims and women, the district and subordinate criminal courts in India do not come up with biased decisions during their judgement.