AI cannot replace humans in judicial process: CJI

AI can be used in judicial process but cannot replace human discretion: CJI

Quoting eminent jurist Nani Palkhivala, the chief justice said, "To tax and to please is not given to man; but to tax and be fair is."

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde speaks at the 79th Foundation Day celebrations and All India Members' Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, in New Delhi, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on Friday underlined the need for artificial intelligence (AI) in the judicial system, especially in cases of repetitive nature and document management, to expedite dispute resolution process.

He, however, cautioned that AI cannot replace human discretion, which is necessary for a just decision making.

Speaking at 79th Foundation Day celebration of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the Chief Justice of India said the use of technology in judicial functioning is a fascinating area and a significant breakthrough.

"Though I must make one thing clear: Because we have been dealing with the introduction of artificial intelligence in courts, I am firmly of the view, based on the experience of systems that have used artificial intelligence, that it is only the repetitive area or decision making such as rates of taxation, etc, or something that is invariably the same or which is in a sense mechanical, and that must be covered by artificial intelligence," he said.

AI can play a significant role in tribunals like ITAT in docket management and decision making, he said adding that "the artificial intelligence system we are looking to employ in courts possesses the reading speeds of 1 million character per second. I can imagine a similar system can be used to read and extract all relevant facts, compute tax effect and assist in a myriad of ways to propel the pace of decision making".

Bobde added that it is reassuring to discover that more nations are taking up steps towards experimenting and implementing AI in their respective justice delivery systems.

This goes to say that judiciary is doing and must continue to do everything in order to tackle with the workload in the judicial process, he said.

"Artificial intelligence, as I see, brings new hope to drive the public faith to our institutions. One of the most transparent measures to adjudge performance is your ability to dispose of cases," he said.

He advised ITAT that the institution must carry on its legacy to follow the best practices and the commitment to evolve as it has done over the years.

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