New, Free Access to Indian Parliamentary Debates, on Indian Kanoon

Full text of debates of the Lok Sabha — the lower house of the Parliament of India — from 1998 to present, are now available free of charge on Indian Kanoon, Dr. Sushant Sinha‘s free access to law service for India.

Lok Sabha debates on Indian Kanoon can be retrieved along with the texts of statutes and case law in multi-database searches, or can be searched in a stand-alone database.

In the text of Lok Sabha debates on Indian Kanoon, the name of each member of Parliament who speaks is hyperlinked, to enable quick retrieval of all statements by that member.

Dr. Sinha says that the debates database includes all Lok Sabha debates from 1998 to present that the Indian Parliament has made available, and that older debates will be added if the Parliament makes them available.

The debates have been added as part of a partnership between Indian Kanoon and PRS Legislative Research, which provides legislative history and research services to India’s national and state legislatures. PRS will use these debates to enhance its legislative information services offered to members of Parliament. In addition, members of Parliament and their staffs can search Lok Sabha debates directly on Indian Kanoon.

This provision of Lok Sabha debates on Indian Kanoon thus furnishes an example of how government employees use of free access to law services to obtain enhanced access to legal information, and thus potentially to improve the efficiency of government operations and services to citizens. Access to Lok Sabha debates on Indian Kanoon accordingly demonstrates how free access to law services can function as “extensions” of e-Government systems arising in the public sphere, as described by Robinson et al. in their important article, Government Data and the Invisible Hand.

Indian Kanoon now offers free access to more than 20 databases of Indian legal materials.

Today Dr. Sinha announced planned enhancements to Indian Kanoon, including “[c]ase summaries,” auto-completion of search queries, and improved relevancy of search results.

For more information on Indian Kanoon, click here for my extended interview with Dr. Sinha on Slaw.ca, the Canadian legal blog.

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