Courts and AI
AI developments in Judiciary and the Justice Hub
The last month is one of the most happening months in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The announcements related to ChatGPT, of course, lead the news but AI is much more than that. Various industries are in a rush to integrate the latest advancements in their operations. The legal sector too. In this edition of the newsletter, we will discuss the adoption of AI in the Indian legal ecosystem and explore further use cases.
We have been used to reading subtitles while watching movies. How would it be if we can also read subtitles of a live courtroom proceeding? The Supreme Court (SC) of India is doing just that. In courtroom 1, the SC deployed an AI technology that transcribes the live proceedings. Currently, a Constitutional Bench proceeding dealing with the political crisis in Maharashtra is being transcribed live using this technology. In the words of CJI DY Chandrachud, this technology will “help judges and the lawyers … it will also help our law colleges. They can analyse how matters are argued…It is a huge resource”. This step would make the court proceedings more transparent and accessible to the public. Also, this would make the Supreme Court a “Court of Record” in the true sense as every argument placed before the court would be recorded.
Earlier this year, another AI technology was launched by the SC of India. A machine translation software (SUVAS) was launched which can translate SC judgments from English to Indian languages. Currently, the software is developed to translate into four languages – Hindi, Gujarati, Odia and Tamil. As per the Supreme Court Observer, the SC added 1,268 translated judgments on its Electronic Supreme Court Records (eSCR) portal on Republic Day which brings the total number of vernacular judgments to 2,283. The eSCR portal currently hosts 34,015 judgments. Translated copies currently account for 6.71% of total available judgments. Here are a few other stats on the availability of judgments in vernacular languages: Link.
Clearly, aided by the technological advancements in AI, the year 2023 could be a year of AI for the Indian Judiciary. With the recent budget allocation of Rs. 7000 crores for the Phase-3 of the eCourts project, we can expect much more AI initiatives in the Indian legal sector - especially for case tracking, document management, judge analytics, litigation prediction and legal research.
Data and AI experiments at the JusticeHub
We, at JusticeHub, have also performed an experiment with AI on Indian judicial data. We experimented with the use of a Natural Language Processing (NLP) library called OpenNyAI to extract crucial information from court judgements. We selected 50 judgements of the Protection of Children from the Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act from Assam to check if we can use OpenNyAI to extract relevant POCSO sections from each case. While this data is also available on the case information page, we found that using OpenNyAI helped in extracting an exhaustive list of relevant POCSO sections for a given case. More details about this experiment are shared by Sai Krishna in this blog: Link
Libraries like OpenNyAI basically help in creating structured data from Indian judicial documents. But what is the need for such structured datasets? This question is answered by our Child Rights researcher, Sri Harsha Kandukuri. Taking the context of the Prevention of Child Marriages Act (PCMA), he explained the need for a robust data ecosystem to understand and tackle the menace of child marriages. You can find his thoughts on this here: Link
We look forward to conducting many more such experiments in the intersection of AI and Law-Judiciary.
DCPCR and HAQ: Centre for Child Rights Seminar on Child Rights Strategic Litigation
The JusticeHub colleagues Apoorv Anand and Sri Harsha Kandukuri attended a seminar organised by the Delhi Commission on Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and the HAQ: Centre for Child Rights on the topic of 'The Child Rights Strategic Litigation and Practice in India: The Way Forward.' The seminar was a great opportunity to listen to the scholars, lawyers, and practitioners to understand the nuances of child rights strategic litigation around areas such as the misuse of the POCSO Act, child custodial battles, age determination of children, etc.
Over the past couple of years, we have worked on analysing the implementation of child protection laws. This gave us an opportunity to understand the importance of good quality public data to track laws, understand the legal process and advocate for better legal reforms. But we also observed that there are several challenges to deal with to make our legal data ecosystem more robust and useful. Here we have noted a few steps we can take to overcome some of the challenges in using data for strategic litigation.
If you have any other ideas or suggestions, do write to us at email@example.com. We look forward to engaging with you to learn more about the role of the Justice Hub in improving the state of the data ecosystem around child rights.
Other Data for Justice (D4J) happenings
A group of lawyers and researchers – Vrinda Bhandari, Abhinav Sekhri, Natasha Maheshwari and Madhav Aggarwal – have performed an extensive empirical analysis to study the use and misuse of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C, the law which is used to prohibit unlawful gatherings, shutdown internet etc., Their research findings and the dataset, containing over 5000 orders of Section 144 CrPC, can be found on the JusticeHub: Link
The third edition of the India Justice Report (IJR) is out. India Justice Report is the country’s only ranking of states on their capacity to deliver justice. The report evaluates the functioning of 4 important sectors of the law and justice sector- Police, judiciary, legal aid and prisons. The data and the report can be accessed here: Link
Common Cause India has also released the Status of Policing Report 2023 in the last month. The theme of the report is Surveillance and Privacy. There is rich data on CCTVs, Cybercrimes and newer surveillance technologies like facial tracking, Pegasus etc. Refer to the report for more details: Link
As an ending note, this is what ChatGPT thinks about an India in which justice gets delivered on time and rule of law prevails. Hoping to make it a reality soon!
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