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Court on Trial: A Data-Driven Account of the Supreme Court of India by Aparna Chandra, Sital Kalantry, and William Hubbard.

Court on Trial is a ground-breaking book that uses sophisticated data analysis to reveal the inner workings of the Indian Supreme Court.  The authors find that its institutional structure and processes no longer align with its stated goals.  In its quest to provide access to the common person, the Court can no longer deliver justice to the people.  The early retirement age of judges creates institutional instability and incentives to pander to the government.  The book makes a compelling case that institutional structures and processes of the Court are in urgent need of reform.



Court on Trial has received widespread acclaim in the media and among legal scholars.  Here is a sampling of reviews of the book.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud,[KS1]  the Chief Justice of India, quoted the book at the Hindustan Times Conclaves as a “seminal book,” recognizing the authors’ statistical analysis of the work of the Supreme Court of India.


The BBC states that Court on is “an exhaustive data-driven account” of the Court and finds that the “court is in crises” because of “the huge backlog of cases that leave litigants in limbo and drain them financially.”


India’s leading online journal, ThePrint, published numerous articles analyzing and praising the book. here, here, here, and here.​

Supreme Court lawyers, Murali Neelakanatan and Gautam Narayan find that Court on Trial clearly demonstrates through academic rigor “the issues with which many of us, who have some sense of the functioning of the Indian judiciary, have been grappling for many years now.”

Book review by MR Narayan Swamy in the Federal: “[C]ourt on Trial: A Data - Driven Account of the Supreme Court of India (Penguin), a path-breaking book on the country’s highest judicial seat...stands out because it is based not on impressions or anecdotes but uses empirical research tools to draw some disturbing conclusions.”


Shishir Tripathi writes in Firstpost that What sets this book apart from other books written on the workings of the Supreme Court is that it goes beyond the conjectures and anecdotes to buttress its arguments.”


Lalit Panda writes in Telegraph that:  

“[T]his book provides access to the power of this orientation without overburdening readers. Its sweetest reward, however, is that it offers a vision of welfare in the justice system that views the system systemically instead of the piecemeal approach to justice that forms the existing paradigm for many lawyers and judges.”

“In sum, the book invites us to rethink our biases and consider the costs. And by no means does it require the ideal of complete justice to be sacrificed. Instead, on each subject studied, it offers alternative methods that bring us closer to the ideal of justice.”

selected interviews and presentations:

A book panel at the Jaipur Literature Festival with Justices Lokur, Murlidhar and Chauhan as well as the authors was attended by hundreds of people.


Court on Trial was selected for the Bangalore Literature Festival and the IndianExpress calls the panel a “big draw.”

Aparna Chandra appears on acclaimed podcast The Grand Tamasha [KS1] by Milan Vaishnav


The National University of Singapore hosts the authors in a Virtual Roundtable with commentary by distinguished legal scholars from around the world.  


Member of Parliament and India’s Leading Lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi celebrate book in International Launch in Seattle.  


Sital Kalantry presents book to Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. 


Sital Kalantry presents book to Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. 


Watch interviews by authors in popular legal journal, Bar and Bench.


Sital Kalantry presents book to the Consul General of India, Prakash Gupta, India’s top diplomat to Washington state


Aparna Chandra in conversation with Leena Gita Reghunath for  Supreme Court Observer. :

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Aparna Chandra speaks at the Bangalore International Centre.

Seattle University School of Law discussed Professor’s Kalantry’s new book on its News Center:

In ThePrint’s SoftCover, authors of the book 'Court on Trial', a Penguin India publication, talk to Assistant Editor Apoorva Mandhani 

Screenshot 2024-02-09 at 11.08.01 PM.png Aparna Chandra and William Hubbard talk about how to fix the Indian Supreme Court: 

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Aparna Chandra appears in a Podcast on New Books Network. 

Vidhi Center for Policy host a discussion on the book.

Court on Trial was launched in Delhi by the Attorney General of India, Solicitor General of India, and two former Chief Justices. Watch the full event here

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