Characterising land and property related litigation at the Delhi High Court

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There are three common conjectures regarding land and property related litigation in India. First, it forms a large proportion of the caseload of Indian courts. Second, the quality of property records is to blame for the large volume and length of the litigation. Third, the caseload is compounded due to the complexity created by the multitude of laws that govern land and property. Additionally, the government is thought to be the largest litigant. This paper presents a novel data-set of case-level data from the Delhi High Court to test these conjectures. It answers important questions regarding the volume and typologies of such disputes, and the typologies of litigants. At the Delhi High Court, land and property disputes constitute 17% of the litigation. In these cases, the largest proportion of litigation is between private parties. The Union government is the petitioner (or appellant) in 2% of such litigation but is the respondent in more than 18% of cases. Tenancy and land acquisition matters are the most common types of litigation. Lastly, approximately 14% of property litigation originates from and is related to property records.