Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud on Saturday batted for the use of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the judiciary and appealed to judges to continue hybrid hearings, saying that this was not just meant for the Covid-19 pandemic period.
Addressing the two-day national conference on digitization, paperless court and e-initiative programme in Odisha’s Cuttack, the CJI said he gets a lot of public interest litigations(PILs) from lawyers across India that hybrid hearings have been stopped and a parliamentary standing committee had found that so much of technology infrastructure set up in high courts was obsolete.
“I would appeal to the Chief Justices that please do not disband that infrastructure, and technology. It was not confined to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was for Covid and beyond,” the CJI said.
parliamentary standing committee told us that in high courts, so much of technology infrastructure which has been set up is obsolete as it is not used… screens and other ICT is kept in a corner as a reminder that we once used technology. The committee said how will IT work, if so many high courts start discarding the infrastructure? Some high courts have disbanded video conference system but the infrastructure is in place. The question is not about the infrastructure but are we using it?” he said.
He further said that AI tools would be useful even as judges’ discretion would be necessary for sentencing.
“In one of my judgments which I was editing last night, I have said we cannot burden our lawyers due to our uneasiness with technology. The answer is simple: retrain ourselves,” he said.
“We do not think we want to cede our discretion, which we exercise on sound judicial lines in terms of sentencing policy. At the same time, AI is replete with possibilities, and it is possible for the Supreme Court to have record of 10,000 or 15,000 pages? How do you expect a judge to digest documents of 15,000 pages, which comes with a statutory appeal,” CJI said