Justice D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday laid emphasis on the healthy balance between the use of technology and human intervention to enhance the experience of the justice delivery system.
He was speaking via video conferencing after virtually inaugurating a ‘Justice Clock’. Gujarat High Court has become the first court in the country to have a ‘Justice clock’, which is an outdoor display LED wall within the court premises to display the pendency of cases. Its e-version is also available on its website.
He also pointed out that the technology is now bringing focus on judges, the way the court” works, the way lawyers conduct themselves etc.
“Let there be no doubt that the technology is now bringing focus on judges, how we conduct ourselves, how long we sit in the court, the seriousness wuth which the courts are handled and cases are conducted, the courtesy which judges show to the members of the bars and litigants.”
“A healthy balance between the use of technology and human intervention has to be maintained. Technology, we must understand, is the facilitator of change, but the driver of change has been, is and must continue to be the human mind. The only limitation on the human mind is human commitment to change and to adopt. We can never forget the human face of justice which lies on the back of all technologies.”
The Supreme Court judge appreciated the initiatives of the Gujarat High Court. He added that the technological advancement of judiciary has been only made possible through constant deliberation, coordination and cooperation among the High Courts, Central government, State Governments and other stakeholders.
“I do believe that this initiative of the High court of Gujarat will spread not only to all the district courts in the state but to all the other states in India as well where a justice clock in its virtual replica will become a permanent feature of everything court establishment in the country. I thank brother Justice M.R. Shah for making this suggestion and I intend to write to all Chief Justices to replicate this not only in High Courts but all courts in the states.”
“A unique aspect of the e-committee’s work has been the collaboration between the judiciary across all states to build a digital infrastructure which is scientific, efficient and useful.”
Justice Chandrachud said technology has taught the judiciary, which is often criticised for not valuing the time of stakeholders and for being “oblivious to time”.
“Unfortunately, it is true we forget the clock while we do justice. In a way it is good we forget the clock, because judges work oblivious to the demands of time. Once you handle a case in the court, no case is big, and no case is too small, because it represents a human face behind a dispute. But equally, technology has taught us we must respect the time value of all stakeholders.”
He also told that how the use of AI can assist in identifying frivolous litigation, reducing the pendency of cases and improving productivity.
“The use of artificial intelligence would be a guide for the state governments, and I would appeal to the government of Gujarat to use AI to have better predictive outcome in cases like that of land acquisition. In motor accident claims also, the insurance companies can predict what is the likely outcome of the case so that you can settle in advance, given the time value of money. AI at the same time, you would have to be wary of the possibility that AI generated outcomes are not predicated by any bias which can crop in how algorithms analyse data. A healthy balance between the use of data and human intervention has to be maintained.”
“There is a strong message in this for all of us, that technology has completely transformed our lives. And it is important we as judges and stakeholders and members of the bar adapt to the needs of technology because technology is here to stay.”
Justice Chandrachud shared a data from the National Judiciary Data Grid, which stated that there are a total of 1.52 lakh cases pending in the Gujarat High Court, with 59 cases being more than 30 years old. The oldest pending civil cases dates back to November 12, 1981 and the oldest criminal cases dates back to 1990.
Justice Chandrachud said that the clock which is installed about 17 feet from the ground is a reminder to us that there are some higher values which guides our functioning and ultimately, we are here to subserved those higher values, namely of dispensing justice to the common citizen.