INTERVIEW: Level up your Citation Game With Sushruti and Rahul’s Indian Kanoon Extension!

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Indian Kanoon Citation Extension is a plug-in developed by Sushruti Verma and Rahul Singh which creates a citation for any case you open on Indian Kanoon.

Haven’t we all been to the brink of collapse during our legal research while writing the citation for judgments?

We’ve all visited Indian Kanoon innumerable times for judgements, for our research, and have taken all that time to create a citation for it, copying and carefully pasting all that information. How we wish it could be available at a click! Guess what, now, IT IS!

Sushruti Verma and Rahul Singh, the creators of the Indian Kanoon Citation Plug-in, get in a candid conversation with Lawctopus, about the journey of this extension.

Please introduce yourselves to our readers!

Sushruti: I’m a fourth-year law student, at Jindal Global Law School. I consider myself to be a geek and spend most of my time watching movies and tv shows. Apart from that, I have an interest in technology and data science.

Rahul: I’m a 4th year undergraduate, majoring in Electronics and Communications Engineering at IIIT Delhi. I found my love for building products in the second semester, and I’ve been into developing tech products ever since.

I’m currently working in a startup called “weekday” in Bangalore that helps in finding the technical team for other startups.

Apart from the professional and academic sphere, what else defines the both of you?

Sushruti: I have been a sportsperson since I was 3 years old, and am a black belt Taekwondo player.

Over the lockdown, I started painting and have gotten heavily into art and crafts. I like working on projects I am new to, as it gives opportunities of learning, problem-solving, and growth I wouldn’t get anywhere else. 

Rahul: One thing that both Sushruti and I share is our curiosity to explore new things.

We love to try new things out, experimenting with everything we find, and not being afraid to experience it.

As law students and even lawyers, we do find ourselves landing on the Indian Kanoon website quite often, similar to how you must have landed there someday. What made you decide, Sushruti, to develop the chrome extension for Indian kanoon citation? 

Sushruti: I worked with a college professor as her research associate, and my role was to document around 150 judgements and note the basics of each. The name of the plaintiffs, defendants, date of judgment, the bench, and the author. All this information, which is very easily accessible, was very difficult to collate.

While working on that, I wished there was an extension to make my life easier. Additionally, almost every law student I have worked with, has absolutely hated making citations of case law. Both these situations over 3 years led me to approach Rahul and finally work on something. 

Since you are a law student with no technical background, Sushruti, how did you manage to implement your idea?

Sushruti: Honestly, the credit for all code goes to Rahul. My role was very limited in the same, to the things he told me to do. Oftentimes Rahul told me to make an edit, saying “Well you wanted to learn how to code, so solve this problem”.

It took a lot of hours, but I’m proud of what I learned. 

Rahul, being an engineer, how much did you know about Indian Kanoon? What were your first thoughts when Sushruti intimated her idea to you? What made you join her in this idea?

Rahul: I had never come across it until Sushruti introduced me to it. She complained about the problem and told me that if she had a chrome extension to help her, it would make her life easier.

The moment I heard about the idea, I knew that it was pretty easy to make. After some convincing, I finally got to make it and created a prototype within 2 days (it was a pretty basic version).

That’s the story of this wonderful partnership, isn’t it? So, how did the two of you go about developing the plug-in? How much time did you spend in the process? 

Since we became friends, both of us had a tendency to work at the same time and stay on call while doing so. Even though our projects and academics were completely different, our productivity around each other was great.

Eventually, we noted that we wanted to work on something together, which is when I approached Rahul with the idea for the extension. We staggered it out over quite a few months, as we both had academic commitments. 

Sounds like quite some days! But it is very astounding to learn that two days was all the time it took for you to create a prototype of something so useful. Do you think most of such tech ideas are equally quick to implement, Rahul? 

Rahul: It’s not really a tech idea. I like to see tech as just a tool that helps us accomplish tasks. Personally, I think it’s about what’s motivating you to build the product. Small ideas take only a week to build, and even the big ones usually have a prototype built in a week.

All it requires is dedication to the project. There are a lot of technical people out there that are skilled in making any project you can think of. I feel there is a big disconnect between tech and other fields, that I would like to close, I want to help connect tech and people from other fields so that we can create better solutions.

The extension already has 135 users! Give us some details about this plug-in. Where can our readers find it, how can it be used optimally and what all different formats do you offer your citations in.

The extension is available at the Google Chrome Webstore. You can access it here.

Practically speaking, if you go to any Indian Kanoon judgment, and click on the extension, the details of the judgment will be visible there. There are 4 main formats offered 

  1. Normal, where all the data will be copied as it is in the raw format,
  2. Excel, for all the research associates who want to copy data directly onto an excel sheet,
  3. Oscola, which copies the citation in the Oscola format and 
  4. Bluebook, for bluebook case citation.

We found a contact email in the extension, in the name of “Origo Development“. Is this some sort of partnership you’ve developed together or is it either of your individual initiative?

We wanted to present a collective front, hopeful that we will work on more software in the future together. The email id of Origo was created as a forethought.

Additionally, we didn’t want only one of us to have access to the Chrome developer dashboard which is only connected to one email id. 

Why the name Origo? 

Origo means “beginning” in Latin. It is the root for the English word “origin” and occurs in the phrase fons et origo which means “source and origin”.

As we talked about earlier, this email id was sort of the start of a new professional partnership between us, one apart from a friendship. Although it has no objective meaning as such, this project just meant a lot to us.

Are you both working on any similar projects? We law geeks would love for our lives to get easier!

Rahul: Currently, Rahul is in his final semester of BTech, and has a lot of academic pressure by virtue of being a graduating student. Along with that, he is trying to streamline his interests and understand the industry that he would eventually want to contribute to. 

Sushruti: I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete has come out of those yet. All law students would understand the pressure of setting up a career after law school, and she’s currently wrapped up in the same. We both look forward to working together again, as soon as our college pressure has eased off a little bit.

Humans are filled with ideas, most of which usually stem from our inconveniences and complaints. “It takes so much time, I wish they had shortcut keys for this.” But actually acting upon the ideas and creating your own solutions, is not what we all usually do.

Sushruti, what do you think made you walk that bridge from just thinking about it, to actually doing it? What qualities do you think one requires to tread that path?

Sushruti: Although I am a serial procrastinator, my parents have imbibed the quality in me to always finish a task after I begin it. One quote I’ve always tried to build my life around is, “If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing badly”.

Even if I can’t give my 100% to an activity everyday, I try putting in at least 10% and building a habit. Leaving tougher projects to pursue easier ones usually isn’t a great path to growth, and at the end of the day, if I can make an extension badly, a bad extension is still better than no extension. 

This was a task that required your full technical support, Rahul. Most creations happen when two different fields of study come together. What do you think the IT professionals of this age could do to bring about more such creations?

Rahul: The essentials for creating solutions is curiosity to explore new domains and being able to look at a problem from others perspective. Which I feel is already at the core for most tech people.

Apart from tech, one thing that IT professionals should concentrate on is networking with people. This helps us understand the problems other people are facing instead of being stuck in our own bubble.

It is such a feat to have accomplished this task, for such young minds. Both of you are indeed an inspiration for our readers. What suggestions would you give to our young readers out there?

Sushruti: Even though there’s already a lot of advice out there, I’d just like to remind my peers that it is up to them what path they want to choose. Not all decisions that worked out for one person, are going to work out for the second. Life, like law school, is too subjective to fit into a single mold. All of us have several sides to our personality, we shouldn’t be limited to a single one.

I made the decision of combining law and technology, which isn’t something I have ever seen a college senior do. Believe in yourself to choose a path and commit to it. 

Rahul: I still haven’t figured out a lot. I’m often confused about everything I see. I’ve chosen a chaotic way of living life. Choosing options that others seem to avoid. I believe while we are young we have the freedom to explore everything and the consequences of failing are not as dire. So I’d nudge the young readers to take risks because now is the time to take them.

Quiet some inspiration from such young minds, ain’t it? How easier would life get of us law geeks with many more such tech-innovations!

Indian Kanoon Citation Extension in use

Click here to download the Indian Kanoon Citation Extension.

Are you excited to use this extension? Let us know in the comments below!

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