Must adapt to e-courts, says Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said the world would not be the same post-Covid and asked lawyers to adapt to effectively use the digital and physical court processes as India’s future lies in digital technology.
“The post-Covid world will be a different world. It won’t be the same. We must begin to prepare ourselves for the digital courts and physical courts must go together with one supplementing the other,” he said in a speech as part of a series of memorial lectures organized in educationist N R Madhava Menon’s memory.
Prasad, who also holds communications, electronics, and information technology portfolio, said that with the help of technology, over 16,000 courts have been digitised. He added the second phase of e-filing of cases has been launched in the Supreme Court. Prasad said trial courts have been able to conduct e-trials through virtual examination of witnesses and recording of evidence in nearly 200,000 cases.
He spoke about future technologies and challenges they could pose for lawyers. “Artificial intelligence [AI] will play a crucial role in the coming times. You [lawyers] need to coordinate with new ideas of technology to accelerate the justice delivery system. But the human mind will continue to play its role as AI cannot cross-examine. That only a lawyer can do.”
He cited the example of driverless cars to show how machines cannot take the place of human consciousness. “Driverless car technology is good but I am worried that if such a car gets involved in an accident, who should be held responsible.” He stressed privacy too and promised a robust Data Protection law.
Prasad praised indigenously developed digital products like the Mitron app and expressed his confidence that the “innate abilities of Indians” and “divine entity of India” will help the country to deliver solutions to the Covid-19 crisis.