This report is an invitation to join Agami in accelerating ideas that serve justice in India.
When we launched the Agami Prize in 2018, our goal was to create a different story for law and justice – a story not steeped in what was stuck or broken but one about the bright spots, the ideas with the potential to increase quality, effectiveness, access and inclusion. By surfacing initiatives from all over the country, the Prize provides a valuable vantage point, refreshed every 2 years, over the landscape of innovations in law and justice – the bright spots themselves.
It is a privilege to share these learnings and opportunities with all of you. We hope that this Agamiscape helps you tap into your fullest potential as a law and justice changemaker.
Supriya Sankaran & Sachin Malhan
The Year of Paradoxes
2020 is, and will remain, an incredibly hard year to label. There were great injustices but also stories of incredible strength and resilience; there were failures of leadership but also bold reforms; there was the end of things we knew but also the birth of ingenious new ideas; and there was a resurgence of inner enquiry as to what we stand for when almost everything around us is mired in uncertainty. Whichever way you look at it, 2020 is a year you will never forget.
The initial days of the pandemic brought to a near standstill almost all our systems of law and justice. The courts functioned at a fraction of their capacity, legal services were impossible to access, disputes brought on by broken business and relationships stacked up, and even basic civic tools of engagement were paralysed.
Backed into a corner, changemakers everywhere, in civil society, business and government, did what they do best – solve problems. Recognising that adversity was opening up mindsets to new possibilities, changemakers moved fast to introduce innovative ideas and practices.
We have long known that we can take a giant leap towards access to justice and ease of doing business by unleashing the power of our public and private legal data, digitizing our courts and critical justice infrastructure, resolving disputes collaboratively, and empowering citizens to better service their own justice needs. The pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation push towards advancing these trends by making the flaws in the status quo painfully clear.
However, we’re not there yet. All of us will need to work individually and collectively to ensure that we are able to create lasting changes in our systems of law and justice. Changes that work for all Indians, not just a few. To serve 1.3 billion Indians, we will have to go beyond merely ‘scaling solutions’ and also empower millions to act as changemakers by inspiring, skilling and connecting them.
In this momentous year of change, let us explore the emerging landscape of ideas that serve justice in India.
The Scope of Agamiscape 2020
This Agamiscape is based primarily on the analysis of the 251 applications we received for the Agami Prize 2020 (AP20); the 183 applications for the Agami Prize 2018 (AP18); 2 Agami Challenges (Electronic Alternate Dispute Resolution (E-ADR) and Data for Justice (D4J), both in 2019); and the research of the Aapti Institute, which involved extensive conversations with close to 25 exceptional global and local changemakers about their experiences with barriers, changemaking and mindsets. Initiatives that are operating in the landscape and doing fantastic work but were not a part of either the Prize (in 2018 or 2020), any of the Agami Challenges, or the research of the Aapti Institute are by process excluded from the scope of this report.
We welcome your comments, inputs, advice and, most of all, ideas on what has been reported in this Agamiscape. Write to us at [email protected].