An alarming number of pending cases has plagued India for a very long time. While the judiciary and the legislature have taken significant steps, such as Alternate Dispute Resolution (Mediation and Arbitration), People’s Courts, Fast Track Courts, etc., a lot more work is needed to reduce the backlog of ~4 Crore cases. India can benefit from AI technologies being used in different stages of the judicial process to create a streamlined and speedy resolution process.
India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of over 136 Crores. It comes as no surprise that we often face a lack of resources in every sector, including our Judiciary system. A judiciary process goes through several stages wherein police, courts, and corrections operate in an interconnected form to lodge complaints, investigate cases, initiate judicial proceedings at courts, collect statements from the accused and defendants, analyze case facts, and order judgment. This labor-intensive system, which is largely non-digitized, has made the processes hard to administer and even harder to navigate for people. It is therefore essential to utilize technology to tackle this issue effectively.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed various fields and functions, such as healthcare, banking, automobiles, etc., and is gradually shifting how different organizations operate. Data and vision analytics, machine learning, predictive systems, and automation are emerging AI technologies that have contributed to this evolution. These technologies can help ensure sustainable justice delivery and reduce the backlog of pending cases through streamlining processes. These could be routine and repetitive processes (such as documentation) or complex ones (such as witness cross-examination).
Judiciary in several developed countries such as the USA and Canada already utilize AI to help the judge evaluate bail and parole appeals. Such measures will reduce the overall time a particular case takes for completion and help lower the corruption surrounding the paperwork and reduce the margin for human error, thus alleviating the pain an average citizen goes through in the process.
The judicial process in India has already taken some steps in this direction. One such instance is marking the presence of under-trial prisoners through video-conferencing. This is convenient for the person who no longer needs to travel long distances for deposition while also saving public money in the process. Digitization of court records and updating court orders on the website is also a way for the court to use technology to streamline the process.
While the judicial system has started navigating in this direction, there are many miscellaneous tasks performed by different entities of the system, where AI can perform or assist in some of the fundamental functionalities. These include:
To summarize, AI-powered machines can be used in various stages of a trial by helping the police, the lawyers, the judges, and in turn, the citizens who are the most affected by the delays of the system. When this is done, the noble cause of ensuring effective and sustainable justice to the masses shall be achieved.