Future of Artificial Intelligence in Indian Judiciary

– Aswathi Radhakrishnan


Technology makes our life simpler and comfortable therefore why not AI in the judiciary. There are plenty of pending cases which are increasing day by day and corruption. So why can’t India adopt such a system. AI can give us all the information necessary but in case of critical thinking or analysing a particular situation can AI make a decision accordingly? Especially relating to justice to the society. For example, R v Dudley and Stephens in this case the judges have different opinions. The people in this case eat a person because they were trapped for days and nothing to eat for days, so that kill one person and others survived. If they didn’t kill that one person all others would have died. How can an AI decide this case? Therefore, how does AI help the administrative justice system and judges in decision making? 

Now let’s take Indian scenario, a country with large population, different language, different religion, different sentiments. Can an AI provide a judgement without hurting the religious sentiment of people because Indians have deep sense of religious sentiments? A decision or a judgement shall not be against our fundamental rights or hurting the minorities. The judges in our country are doing a difficult task. Can an AI do that?Can the Judges be replaced by AI like robots? How does AI help the administrative justice system and judges in decision making? Can AI judges be practical in India

Keywords; AI, Judges, India, Administrative of Justice, Corruption


Technology plays an important role in our day-to-day life. Our day starts by a phone alarm then news, route map and the restaurant according to your preference the list will go on. Our life became in such a way that we can’t live with the help of technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an imitation of human intelligence because of this it has the skill of learning, reasoning, problem solving like human beings. Intelligence is what allows you to understand the sentences you are reading here. It is a mental activity that we, as human beings, are uniquely qualified to exercise. Different elements of and processes within your brain. AI is useful in many ways like road map, Alexa, Siri, Online payment etc, so why can’t we have an AI court and judges? 

What does AI mean? Intelligence is an ability to understand things and which is accordingly with your knowledge, problem solving ability, adaptability to certain situations or instances. Can an AI be able to do these things? [1]For an AI to identify a cat it has to understand all its features and 100,000 pictures of the cat even after that it can only be certain of 95%. AI can act as an advisor in the court of justice. It can provide answers to the problems like a legal consultant, it will also help us to solve the problem without approaching the court. The best example for this is the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) in British Columbia, Canada, it provides free legal aid for the people 24/7. The function of CRT is basically we have to answer certain questions. It is more like an interactive question answer. The system will be updated every three months by a human expert and the update is done by the feedback of people therefore it cannot be considered as a real AI. 

  • Ethical Principles

There is no doubt that technology became an essential part of our life and the involvement of technology is going to increase more than what we have today. To include AI in the judicial system we have to consider the ethical principles. It is nothing but the moral value we as a society follows. When designing the AI for the purpose of administration of justice it is most important to respect the Fundamental rights of the country and other aspects like transparency, data security, user control etc. If we talk about the Indian scenario the ethical concerns are a bit more serious. India is a county with different religion, language, culture etc therefore if AI is implemented in Indian court of Justice it has a lot more aspects to look into. Our fundamental rights provide the right to equality, right to life, right to freedom of speech etc it shall not be waived or questioned. 

  • AI and Judges 

[2]“Humans can be swayed by emotion. Humans can be convinced. Humans get tired or have a bad day,” says Tracy Greenwood, an expert in e-discovery. eDiscovery is a company which performs legal works like finding relevant judgment or provisions or articles faster than humans. Before analysing AI can be a part of the judicial system it is important to understand the role of Judges in the judicial system. The legal scholars Sourdin and Zariski note, “Emotion not alone but in combination with the law, logic and reason -helps the judges get it right”. The judges need to respond consciously, rationally, and with intuition and empathy. The decision of Judges may base on many aspects and the opinion of judges vary according to person to person. Some judges provide judgement purely based on law others based on law as well as the humanitarian aspects. If the judge is in bad mood, bise towards some parties or discrimination or hiding connection between lawyers and the judges leads to conflict of interest can affect the judgment. AI won’t be partial to any parties or don’t need to deal with such situations. The moral compass of our society cannot be placed into the hands of machines. At this point of our evolution and their development, we must not forget that judging requires not only knowledge of the law and case evidence, but also the empathic ability to understand the emotions and motivations underlying human behaviour. If we can find a way to use robots to bring greater consistency and clarity to legal proceedings without risking fairness, we will have arrived at the ideal balance. 

Now the question here is whether an AI is biased on their decision? Propublica is a non-profit organisation based in New York conducted an investigation on Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS). It is used in countries like the US, New York etc to identify the people who tend to commit crime and they will be categorized into high risk low risk etc. This helps the judges to provide judgements faster. According to ProPublica, COMPAS was prone to overestimate the likelihood of recidivism by black defendants and underestimate that of white defendants. They used an example of the algorithms assessed by two defendants. One of them was a 41-year-old man of European heritage, a seasoned criminal; the other a teenage African-American girl who had never been arrested before. Both had stolen items of the same value, but the machine failed to inspect the fact that the girl stole a bicycle and had no serious criminal record and instead it took the racial bias into account. The girl was rated as high risk, whereas the man was rated as low risk by COMPAS.

The other problem is based on privacy related matters. For example, in India if any juvenile case is registered the name or any details of the child shall not be released to public if shall remain confidential even in rape cases same is applicable. It is a very difficult task to hold confidential things. If these things are under control of AI it will be much more difficult.

  •  Function of AI

 AI is run by algorithms; it is a problem-solving operation which is used. [3]There are 3 principles we need to follow to govern the use of AI.

1.      Auditability

Whenever using an AI algorithm program for risk assessment, we have to get the representation of that algorithm it will help use for the later examination.  It has 3 categories; firstly the AI will collect the habitual offenders, for example if a person committed theft and punished for the offence and again punished for the same offence then AI will update his details accordingly. Therefore, it will be easy to identify how many times the person convicted for the same offence. First, we discuss how AI finds the person who is repeatedly breaking the law, secondly AI will be able identify the category of information is data specific to the defendant, such as the defendant’s arrest history. For example, how many times the person break the law. The third category is the algorithm itself.  

2.      Transparency

It is basically the company which makes the risk assessment software and shall not be able to use the trade secret law or block the information pertaining to algorithms and data.

3.      Consistency

It refers to ensuring that an Al system does not produce materially inconsistent risk assessments at different times for defendants with substantially identical profiles.

  •    Chinese AI courts

 China is the first country to introduce robot judges in the judiciary. [4]It is possible to them mainly because traditionally all the decisions and judgement is applicable to researchers and to the general public. Then they start from the 2000 Regulations, in this they came up with the approach of education lower court judges on correct application of law. Later they focus on transparency, all the judgement will be published online which is accessible to the general public. They also exclude state secrets, juvenile defendants, divorce, or child custody, as well as cases settled through mediation. Also they are only uploading selective cases, not all the cases.  In 2015 they introduced online court proceedings and these courts deal with almost all the cases. Not all courts are online; there are regional disparities.  The courts also have videotaped facilities which are stored in a database. 


The main advantage of AI in courts is that it can prevent corruption and the bias decision of judges. Also, the process will be much faster than usual. AI is not feasible at this point or our judiciary and it is helpful for the Judges, advocates for collecting organized information.

  • Can the Judges be replaced by AI like robots?

 Judges can be replaced by AI but the technology has to be at a much more advanced level. The reason is because the AI we have now is not able to think like a human. AI is functioning based on their data which they have or which is fed by a card. The value of human life cannot be taught by loading 10,000 pictures. Judiciary is a place where citizens of a county give huge respect, in there we can’t place an AI which is not able to understand that.  I am disagreeing with the concept of AI court stating that it is not time yet. 

  • How does AI help the administrative justice system and judges in decision making?

 It does help for the administration of Justice. AI provides us the data of all the relevant cases and provisions etc. It does make the judiciary to act in a speedy manner. Great example for this is ROSS intelligence and COPASS helping the judiciary in the USA and New York. Due to this pandemic all the court proceedings are happening with the help of AI. The people are finding it difficult to use these advanced technologies but still they are grateful. 

  • Can AI judges be practical in India?

It may be practicable for some courts and tribunals like Income Tax tribunal, Consumer Protection Tribunal, Motor Vehicle Tribunal etc. These courts are functioning completely based on application of law. For Criminal or Contract related cases there shall be analyse all the aspects like morality, humanitarian perspective, critical reasoning etc. These cases AI can’t play an important role in decision making but can help the judges and lawyers.

Taking all those factors into consideration the aim shall always be a judiciary without corruption, without discrimination and fast justice delivery. There is no question that AI is definitely helpful for the judiciary system. Because of this it definitely makes our judiciary to function easily. Therefore, do best with what we have and also adapt the change when it is necessary, like we stuck at home due to the COVID-19. 

[1]  A. D. Reiling, Courts and Artificial Intelligence, 11 IJCA 1 (2020)

[2]  Seda Fabian, Artificial Intelligence and the Law: Will Judges Run on Punch Cards, 16 COMMON L. REV. 4 (2020)

[3] John Villasenor & Virginia Foggo, Artificial Intelligence, Due Process and Criminal Sentencing, 2020 MICH. St. L. REV. 295 (2020)

[4]  Björn Ahl, Lidong Cai and Chao Xi , Driven Approaches to Studying Chinese Judicial Practice, Vol. 19, No. 2

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