Tech can expedite justice system

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Tech can expedite justice system

Saturday, 28 January 2023 | Prashant Tewari

Tech can expedite justice system

Use of artificial intelligence in Indian courts has the potential to significantly reduce the backlog of cases and fast track justice

The ongoing fight between the Government and the judiciary can have a significant impact on common citizens. It can lead to delays in the delivery of justice, as the judiciary may be overburdened by political considerations and government interference. This can result in citizens waiting for extended periods of time for their cases to be heard and resolved, leading to frustration and a lack of faith in the legal system.

Additionally, the Government and the judiciary may become preoccupied with their own power struggles, leading to a neglect of the needs and concerns of citizens. This can further erode trust in the legal system, and make it more difficult for citizens to access justice and have their rights protected.

The Indian legal system is facing a significant backlog of cases, resulting in delays in the delivery of justice. This is a major concern as it undermines the rule of law, and can lead to a lack of faith in the judiciary and the legal system as a whole.

One of the main reasons for the backlog of cases in the Indian courts is a shortage of judges. According to the National Judicial Data Grid, there are currently over 40 million pending cases in the Indian courts, while the sanctioned strength of judges is only around 20,000. This results in a large number of cases being assigned to each judge, leading to delays in the disposal of cases.

Additionally, the process of appointment of judges is often slow and bogged down by bureaucracy and political considerations, further exacerbating the shortage of judges. Another reason for the backlog of cases is the inefficient functioning of the courts.

The Indian court system is known for its slow pace, with cases often taking several years to be resolved. This is due to a number of factors, such as a lack of technology, inadequate infrastructure and resources, and a lack of training for court staff. Additionally, the legal process is often bogged down by delays and adjournments, further adding to the time it takes for cases to be resolved.

The backlog of cases also has a negative impact on the rights and access to justice for marginalised and vulnerable groups. For instance, the long delays in the disposal of cases can result in the denial of justice to victims of crimes, particularly women and children. Further, the long delays can also result in the release of the accused on bail, leading to the re-victimisation of the survivors of crimes.

The backlog of cases also has a significant economic impact, as delays in the disposal of cases can result in a loss of productivity and economic growth. The delays in the disposal of cases can also lead to a lack of faith in the legal system, which can discourage investments and economic growth.

In short, the backlog of cases in the Indian courts is a major concern that undermines the rule of law and can lead to a lack of faith in the judiciary and the legal system as a whole. The backlog of cases is a result of a shortage of judges, inefficient functioning of the courts, and a lack of resources.

To address the problem of the backlog of cases, there is a need for systemic reforms in the Indian legal system, including increasing the number of judges, improving the infrastructure and resources available to the courts, and implementing technology to improve the efficiency of the courts.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly reduce the backlog of cases in Indian courts. However, it is important to approach the implementation of AI in the legal system with caution and consideration of potential challenges and limitations.

One potential use of AI in the Indian courts is through the use of predictive analytics. Predictive analytics can be used to analyse patterns and trends in past case decisions, allowing judges and lawyers to make more informed decisions in current cases. This could potentially speed up the legal process and reduce the backlog of cases. However, it is important to ensure that the algorithms used for predictive analytics are unbiased and do not discriminate against certain groups of people.

Furthermore, the use of predictive analytics in the legal system raises concerns about transparency and accountability, as the decision-making process becomes less transparent and more reliant on complex algorithms.

Another potential use of AI in the Indian courts is through the use of automated document review. Automated document review can be used to quickly sort through large amounts of legal documents, allowing lawyers and judges to identify relevant information. However, it is important to ensure that the AI system is able to accurately identify relevant information and is not prone to errors or false positives.

Additionally, there is a risk that the use of automated document review could lead to job loss for court clerks and other legal professionals who currently perform this task manually. However, to mitigate this problem, there can be settled guidelines to be followed wherein the applications can be moved by trained bar council-approved lawyers and every judgment can be vetted by a trained judge to avoid error and technological shortcomings.

AI-powered chatbots can also be implemented in Indian courts especially in the district courts and rural areas to assist overburdened lower judicial staff with the legal process by providing information and guidance. This can help to reduce the workload of court staff and improve access to legal information for citizens. However, it is important to ensure that the chatbot is able to provide accurate and up-to-date information and is not prone to errors or misunderstandings.

Also, there is a risk that the use of chatbots could lead to a decrease in personal interactions and human empathy in the legal system.

In conclusion, the backlog in the Indian courts just cannot be handled by human intervention, there has to be either a divine or technological intervention required to significantly improve the justice system. The implementation of AI in the Indian courts has the potential to significantly reduce the backlog of cases and improve the efficiency of the legal system.

However, it is important to approach the implementation of AI with caution and consideration of potential challenges and limitations. This includes ensuring that AI systems are unbiased, transparent, and accountable and that the rights of citizens are protected. Additionally, it is important to consider the ethical implications of using AI in the legal system and to ensure that the use of AI does not lead to a decrease in personal interactions and human empathy in the legal system.

(The author is a public policy expert)

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