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CJI champions tech integration at J20 Summit

The J20 Summit brings together the heads of supreme courts or constitutional courts from G20 member states…reports Asian Lite News

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud revealed on Wednesday that the Supreme Court has conducted over 7,50,000 cases through video-conferencing, with more than 1,50,000 cases filed online. He emphasised the transformative impact of technology on the legal system, stating that it has reshaped the dynamic between law enforcement agencies, including the judiciary.

Speaking at the J20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro on ‘Digital transformation and the use of technology to enhance judicial efficiency’, the CJI highlighted India’s progress in this regard. He noted that virtual hearings have expanded access to the Supreme Court, democratizing the legal process.

The J20 Summit brings together the heads of supreme courts or constitutional courts from G20 member states, organized by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court during Brazil’s Presidency of G20 this year.

Addressing a session, CJI Chandrachud said, “Our courts have come to be reimagined not as imposing ’empires’, but as democratic spaces of discourse. COVID-19 pushed the frontiers of our court systems, which were compelled to change overnight. Courts became more than just opaque physical spaces.”

The J20 Summit, overseen and coordinated by Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court (STF), brings together presidents from the Supreme and Constitutional Courts of G20 member countries, as well as representatives from the African Union and the European Union. This event facilitates discussions on critical topics including social justice, environmental sustainability, and the integration of technology for improved judicial efficiency.

Addressing the summit, CJI Chandrachud said, “We believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant, and that correct and accessible information is an antidote to disinformation. The Brazil Supreme Court’s Programme to Fight Disinformation targets disinformation by enabling access to the judgements and creating an ecosystem of stakeholders.”

CJI Chandrachud said, “In India, it is quite common for judges to engage with a bar and play the devil’s advocate to extract their best response. However, this is sometimes mistaken, as the opinion of the bench and misleading clips of the proceedings are circulated on the internet. Fortunately, we have a robust network of legal journalists who live-report the proceedings and help dispel disinformation. We are using SUVAS (Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software), a machine learning, AI-enabled translation tool for our judgements of 16 regional languages. Over 36,000 cases have thus far been translated. There is also live streaming and YouTube recordings of important constitutional cases that provide the complete context.”

Easy access to the judgements of the Supreme Court is provided through Digital SCR (Supreme Court Records), where over 30,000 old judgements are available for free, CJI highlighted.

CJI said that the digital divide, representational asymmetry between parties to the same dispute, and low-connectivity locations are some of the other bottlenecks that we must tackle. When we speak of judicial efficiency, we must look beyond the efficiency of the judge and think of a holistic judicial process. “Efficiency lies not only in outcomes but in these processes, which must ensure free and fair hearing. Substantive opportunity depends on “conversion factors” as Dr Amartya Sen says, “the degree to which a person can transform a resource into a functioning”. The potential of technology lies in how we convert it to minimise pre-existing inequalities. Inequalities are not neatly stacked compartments; they are rather a complex web of interwoven realities,” CJI said.

Technology is not a one-stop panacea for all social inequalities. Complicated issues such as AI profiling and consequent stigmatisation of individuals in large language models, algorithmic bias, misinformation, exposure of sensitive information, and opacity of black box models in AI must be tackled with sustained deliberative efforts and engagement about the dangers, he said.

CJI Chandrachud also pointed out that there are two crucial areas in which digitization and technology can help us create better justice delivery mechanisms. One is streamlining of the pre-decision processes and the other is the post-decision measures that improve access to and engagement with the decision itself. Courts across jurisdictions are using technologies ranging from basic organisation, to sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, CJI said. (with inputs from ANI)

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