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Artificial Intelligence in India: A History

In the current pandemic times, ­­a variety of changes has seeped in all concerned fields including law. One such change includes increasing dependency on AI by advocates and the judiciary. Artificial intelligence in the 21st century is viewed as a new future with technology being utilized in every field. Listed below are some of the important incidents where AI intersected with law:

  1. It started by Andrew Arruda who used his insights as a lawyer to build ROSS, the world’s first artificially intelligent lawyer which read over a million pages of the law in a second, finding the exact passages as lawyers need.

  2. In 2017, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas became India's first law firm to deploy such a technology [1], by signing up with Canada-based software company ‘Kira’. It uses AI to extract important information from contracts saving 20-90% of the time spent on contract review, without sacrificing accuracy.

  3. In January 2016, a team of researchers at IIT Kharagpur designed an AI aided method to read bulky legal judgments and to evaluate all laws violated in the matter at hand and predicting the merit of taking the matter before the court [2].

  4. Use of AI also extended to the judiciary in 2016 with Computer scientists of University College London designed “AI judge”[3] that reached the same verdicts as judges at the European court of human rights in almost four in five cases involving torture, degrading treatment and privacy with an astonishing 79% accuracy.

  5. JPMorgan in June 2016 claimed that their program, named COIN (Contract Intelligence) saves 36,000 hours of legal work of their lawyers.

Today, Advocates and lawyers undertake such time consuming and tedious tasks like judgment reading, contract drafting, and legal research with the help of AI. Hence, it is an established fact that AI has consistently eased up a variety of our tasks in the legal industry. On one side, if the technology is adopted properly in the Indian context can largely assist in disposing of a big chunk of 3.11 crore [4] cases which are pending in court. AI can never replace a judge but can definitively help[5] with trivial matters pertaining to traffic violations and tax-related matters involving simple issues of calculating damages. Our CJI Hon’ble Justice S.A. Bobde also recently commented on the need for the system based on AI [6] to prevent undue delay in the delivery of justice. On the other, it can reserve a lawyer’s time to invest in more important deliberation activities.

However, with this increased involvement of AI in all sectors, a simultaneous need arises in the absence of regulatory norms is to control AI and also to resolve the conundrum of “on whom to impose liability for the acts of AI

Need for Regulatory norms

The recent and intriguing development where the law is used to the regulate AI is in the introduction of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (NAIIA) on March 12, 2020, in US parliament establishing a coordinated federal initiative to accelerate AI research & development and with an aim of regulating the same. Upon analyzing the situation of world and India in context of AI and Law [7], pertinent questions arising to be solved are (i) issue of imposing liability for the acts of AI [8] and (ii) who will bear the burden of negligence by AI system [9].

By intrusion of AI in the legal field to the extent of Contract drafting, Legal Research and judgment delivery the landmark decision declaring “robots cannot be sued even though they cause devastating damage” in United States v. Athlone [10] requires an urgent amendment. The present times call for “Urgent Changes in IPR regimes [11] to adopting norms for deciding liability and punishment based on the relationship between AI and developer/owner”.


[1] https://www.cyrilshroff.com/uncategorized/cyril-amarchand-mangaldas-is-indias-first-law-firm-to-embrace-artificial-intelligence-technology-as-part-of-legal-innovation/#

[2] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/iit-kharagpur-develops-ai-system-to-read-legal-judgments/articleshow/73296111.cms?from=mdr

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/24/artificial-intelligence-judge-university-college-london-computer-scientists

[4] https://www.news18.com/news/india/economic-survey-flags-ballooning-pile-of-pending-cases-says-8500-judges-needed-to-clear-backlog-2216877.html

[5] https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/virtual-courts-cannot-fully-replace-open-court-hearings-technology-can-make-justice-system-more-efficient-accessible-justice-chandrachud-157260?infinitescroll=1#.XsqaUROPlDs.linkedin

[6] https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/cji-mulls-ai-system-to-avoid-undue-delay-in-justice-delivery-120011100778_1.html

[7] https://doi.org/10.1093/itnow/bwx017

[8] https://doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpz061

[9] https://doi.org/10.1093/ppmgov/gvz014

[10] United States v. Athlone Industries Inc 746 F. 2d 977

[11] https://doi.org/10.1093/grurint/ikz025


Jayant Upadhyay is a 4th Year student of BA.LLB course currently studying in K.L.E. Society’s law college, Bangalore. As he writes this post, Jayant is interning with us.

You can contact him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jayant-upadhyay-731856131/


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