India has an elaborate system of public administration and a strong legal system. These systems while usually playing an enabling role have also been imposing major constraints on the process and potential of development and therefore require thorough reforms. This need has been recognized in public debate and discourse as well as by the government.
India has embarked on a significant programme for legal system reform backed by budgetary support for the first time in six decades. This includes the creation of a new village court system, the adoption of a national litigation policy for the government, the adoption of an arrears and pendency reduction programme, the creation of specialised fast-track tribunals, and extensive changes to the criminal and civil procedural laws. In this backdrop, it is immensely useful to understand the need for legal reforms and to appreciate how the reforms fit into and help constitute various development agendas. This elective course offers a sustained study of legal system reform in India and builds on the link between law and development introduced through the ‘Law and Governance’ core course. It engages with the functioning of various sub-systems within the Indian legal system in a detailed manner, and critically analyses how and why legal system reform remains a central concern for development.