In the past thirty year or so. Artificial Intelligence has again gained momentum after its origin in 1955 and is proving to be a bliss in many fields like Healthcare, Automotive, Finance and Economics, Cyber security, Government, Video games, Military, Hospitality, Art, Advertising etc. Earlier, its use was mainly confined to Automotive and industrial sector and cyber security but now it is dominating every aspect of human life and judiciary is new area where applicability of artificial intelligence has started. However, not all jurists and legal experts agree about the positive impact it has on judicial system.

Earlier this year, Honorable Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stressed on the need for artificial intelligence in judiciary particularly in cases of repetitive nature, document management and decision making like rates of taxation etc. But these aren’t the only area of courts that artificial intelligence can be used. It can be apply on contract management. As per study conducted by researchers of University of Southern California, Duke Law and Stanford Law School, Artificial Intelligence type system “LawGeex” outperformed twenty imminent lawyers in finding flaws in various non-disclosure agreements which means it is capable of removing various human made legal resources[1].

In the ongoing pandemic situation which started spreading in January and by March forced almost all the entire world to a standstill and forced human race to go into lockdown including institutions like Judiciary where regular courts functioning remained suspended and in India, only very urgent matter are being allowed to be taken up by lawyers in court via video conferencing calls. The whole coronavirus has changed the entire litigation process right from filing suit to judgement being delivered by judges and AI is playing significant role in various judicial systems across the globe. For example, in Estonia, The Ministry of Justice asked Velsberg to design ‘robot judge’ to decide small claims disputes. Similarly, in USA,UK and India, stress has been given on limiting lawyers presence in courts and court hearings being done with done with the help of technology.[2] But there is flip side of relying on Artificial Intelligence. Firstly, too much reliance on AI may cost job cuts for lawyers especially in context of drafting contracts or agreements. Secondly, as AI is a program insert by human intelligence and is nothing more than machine language, it is not good to rely on AI to decide cases even those small claims dispute because not all judgements announce by judges based on legal principles and precedents, sometimes a judge delivers a judgement based on equity and social justice and AI is not equipped for that.  Thirdly, for all the existing use of AI in judicial system, it is not possible to hold AI accountable before court of law if there is an error of judgement. Clearly, there is a need for rules and regulations to hold AI accountable in court of law as it’s the humans who insert all the algorithms in machine system and thus human error is possible.

However, AI can be used in courts on daily basis to assist judges and lawyers on document management, to identify habitual offenders, repetition of suits on same ground between same parties so that courts useful time can be saved. A judge is regarded as God or higher decisive authority for a reason and that cannot be replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

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No one had ever imagined that 2020 is going to be ‘A Survival Year of Human Race’. Indians too never imagined that there will be time when all of them have to confine to their home for more than 1 month at least. At the time of writing this, as per official figure issued by Ministry Of Health, there are more than 96 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus and three thousand people have lost their lives. Considering India’s population right now it can be safely assume that rate at which coronavirus is spreading across nation is slow and it’s good news. India took active measures to contain this disease much before it was declared as ‘Pandemic situation’ by World Health Organisation’.  

But the actions taken by the government during this whole phase at times felt without a concrete plan, protocol and are whimsical. As citizens, we cannot completely blame government and law because we did not anticipate this kind of serious situation. The word pandemic and related term is nowhere mentioned in any Indian Law and how to deal with it. The governments at Central and state level are practically relying on three existing laws which were enacted in last century. There is only one law which was enacted in post Y2K was The National Disaster Management Act, 2005 (NDMA). In this act, only the term ‘disaster’ is defined and its scope has been explained. According to section 2(d), the term ‘disaster’ means a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in area, arising from natural or man made causes or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, degradation of, environment and is of such a nature that is beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area. Chapter II and III of the said act explain functions of National and State Disaster Management Authority in times of disaster and to prepare plan to mitigate disasters. The most important provision under this act which provides some sort of guidance to the government is provided under section 35 which deals with measures taken by the government for disaster management and includes coordinated action between ministries and governmental departments, ensure the integration of measures for prevention of disasters, allocation of funds for prevention and mitigation disaster, coordination with UN agencies and international organizations etc.

The scope of term ‘Disaster’ definitely needs to be widened so to include pandemic and any future catastrophic event and the measures taken by the government in case of crisis needs to be more inclusive like a national plan with regard to movement, employment, providing basic resources like food and shelter to those in need during such natural emergency etc.

Another law that deals with epidemic is The Epidemic Act of 1897 recently amended by way of Ordinance. The new amendment act provides for the prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic disease. The motive behind bringing an ordinance is to protect the lives of healthcare personnel who are carrying out their public duty to contain pandemic situation from any harm, injury, hurt and danger to life. The new epidemic Act fails to include the term ‘pandemic’ and anything related to it.

Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code is third and last legal provision that the Central Government has strictly enforced on the people including non-citizens. Section 144 prohibits gathering of more than 5 people in public places failing which a person shall be liable to be punished up to 3 years of imprisonment. But even this legal provision is proving to be ineffective especially after first phase of lockdown. Migrants from various states of India were seen protesting in big numbers in public place demanding basic needs and many of them in big numbers are moving on foot to reach their native place. Even after gathering at worship place is banned including opening and entry, at few occasions worshippers were gathering to mark festival or religious event.


India isn’t the only country who doesn’t have legal framework to deal with such catastrophe. Many developed nations are also doesn’t equipped with special or separate law to deal with this type of virus disease which globally has created a havoc. This critical time apart from misery has given us an opportunity to prepare and equip ourselves to face similar event in future if need arise.

After India successfully achieves flattening curve in controlling this disease and once life goes on with normal routine. The government must look into serious loopholes our legal system has with regard to health emergency and health care and come up with a separate law to deal with pandemic diseases or events in exhaustive manner. It must also include measures to be taken regarding continuous employment of those who cannot work from home and are in dire need of earning basic financial resources for themselves and those who are dependent on them. Government has recently announced huge financial relief for all sectors of economy but now India is in phase where life is eventually becoming normal from standstill.



‘Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis’ were the words of United Nation’s Environment Chief  Inger Andersen in an exclusive interview to [1] Its not just this honorable Danish environmentalist that has echoed the sentiment of nature protection but recently many medical and environmental scientist are of the same view. For more than a century, human being for his own selfish interest is exploiting natural resources without thinking of conserving it and now nature has played with us. There is limit to every human act and this was it. It all began in December, 2019 and till now this pandemic situation is still a nightmare for us.

Prior to COVIS-19, history of humankind has witnessed many pandemic situations like Spanish Flu in 1918, SARS in 2003, EBOLA outbreak in  West Africa in 2014, Avian Influenza in 1997 etc. Time and again, Nature warned us about implication of environment exploitation and the current situation is also a severe warning from the nature to adhere to balancing nature with human needs.

No one is sure as to how long the current situation lasts and the governments around the world must wake up and frame a way forward towards green and clean rules and regulations. In Indian context, there is no law which makes felling of trees punishable in urban areas and even if there is a ‘Forest Conservation Act, 1980’ in existence, it does not have any strict punishment for those responsible for cutting down trees. According to section 3B , those responsible for deforestation shall be guilty of punishment of imprisonment up to 15 days which in practicality is not sufficient. This act also only covers conservation of forest area as declared by Central Government. What about other areas?There is also ‘Environment Protection Act, 1986’ but it only deals with environment protection against pollutants and is silent on water bodies conservation and cutting of trees.

 It is really essential that government start framing and implementing of what is called as ‘Green Rules’ in policy making  which must include protecting habitat of all natural organisms and guarding biodiversity areas. Every individual must be encouraged to plant trees near their surrounding and also proper watering it. Corporations must be strictly instruct to cover the fronts of their corporate offices with trees. Individuals and corporations are also continuously abrasing wild space, thus affecting natural life of wild animals. Laws strictly must be framed for protecting wild life and wildlife area and no construction activities must be done within 5 miles of every wildlife area throughout India.

We should follow example of European Union who in 2019 signed an agreement on ‘Sustainable Finance Rulebook’ which aims to avoid green washing and to allocate resources to finance an economy that will be in tune with the Paris Agreement and which enables to increase the transparency of financial market.

Nature has given a new opportunity to make right of all wrong we are doing with it and India has potential to be a ‘Global Green Leader’ and be a good example before the world of how to balance nature with economy.


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