SUPACE Portal: Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Indian Judiciary
SUPACE Portal: Why in News?
On April 6, 2021, the Supreme Court of India launched the first AI driven research portal, Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court's Efficiency (SUPACE). It was launched by Justice SA Bobde in presence of Justice Nageswara Rao.
What is SUPACE?
- It is a portal through which the Supreme Court intends to leverage machine learning to deal with the amount of data received in the filing of cases.
- SA Bobde described it as a ‘hybrid system’ and ‘a perfect blend of human intelligence and machine learning’ that does wonder when paired with human intelligence.
- Justice L Nageswara Rao is the current chairman of SC's Artificial Intelligence Committee
- CJI SA Bobde was the first chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Committee.
- The AI-driven tool is designed to only process information and make it available to the Judges to take a decision. It will not take any part in the decision making.
- Only the Judges of Delhi and Bombay High Courts dealing with criminal cases would use it on an experimental basis.
- The Supreme Court or Indian Judiciary per se has embraced AI. However the Chief Justice of India said, the interference of artificial intelligence in the decision making would not be tolerated.
- In 2020, SC developed a software called SCI-Interact to make its 17 benches paperless. Other initiatives like LIMBS, E-Courts etc have also been developed.
- As per the data released by NJDG or National Judicial Data Grid, 3.81 crore cases are still pending in various district and taluka courts. In this more than 1 lakh cases are over 30 years old.
- Various district courts have a backlog rise of 18.2% from 2019 to 2020.
- The pendency rate of High Courts has increased by 20.20% and 5.29% in 2018-19. In the Supreme Court the pendency rate has risen to 10.35% from 60,469 cases on March 1, 2020 to 66,727 cases on March 1, 2021.
- On March 25, 2021 the bench of Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justice Sanjay K Kail and S Kant asked for recalling the retired High Court judges under Article 224 (A) of the Constitution to manage this high pendency.
- These Judges would be given a specific tenure to adjudicate the old cases. They would be regarded as the junior most in the hierarchy of the high court.
- The vacancies would be filled up as asked by the High Court to speedily dispense the cases. However no appointments were made and the pendency rose.
- It has been estimated that more than 66 lakh cases have increased in 343 days since this move.
- Earlier the Bar Council of India had rejected the request of former Chief Justice RM Lodha to make Indian judiciary work all around the year.He tried to convince the judges to have alternate vacations keeping the number of working days same as they were then but in vain.
Artificial Intelligence in the judiciary would be helpful in the automation of mundane processes.
The legal teams would deal with a lot of data and processing information.Implementation of AI would be useful in reducing pendency, providing faster and better processing of information.
It was also clarified by Justice Bobde that SC would not be using AI once all the information has been analysed. It would be done to retain the autonomy of the judge in deciding the case.