Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said on April 1 that in the era of digital transformation, the interplay of law and technology could enable better detection of crime and ensure criminal justice reform. He said there is.

Justice Chandrachud made the remarks during the 20th Democratic Party Kohli Memorial Lecture on 'Embracing Technology to Advance Criminal Justice' on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Raising Day.

“The integration of technology into our nation's criminal justice system requires careful consideration of the ethical, legal and social implications, from jurisdiction and privacy issues to accountability and transparency issues,” he said. “There is a need,” he warned.

“By leveraging the power of technology, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of fairness, equity, and accountability. By leveraging these tools responsibly and ethically, we “Ensuring that the benefits of technological advances reach all members of society, regardless of their circumstances. However, it is essential that ethical considerations be prioritized in the use of these technologies,” Judge Chandrachud said. The thing is said.

AI safeguards

He called for clear guidelines and safeguards to prevent the misuse and abuse of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies, protect privacy rights, and address potential inadvertent bias.

The Chief Justice said investigative agencies needed to keep up with the rapid changes in crime in a digitally connected world, and the global nature of crime also required extensive coordination and cooperation with overseas counterparts. He said that apart from the latest tools, the investigation process could be delayed. investigation.

He recommended forming a multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts, including law enforcement officers and data analysts, to deal with such incidents. “The CBI can be upgraded by reevaluating the challenges of changing times and implementing structural reforms to the CBI,” he said.

He said the agency, under the auspices of the Department of Human Resources and Training, had undergone significant reforms, the centerpiece of which was the establishment of the Network for Evidence Tracing, Investigation and Analysis (NETRA) Institute. “…NETRA represents a quantum leap forward in the CBI’s ability to analyze electronic evidence, including mobile devices, cloud storage, and e-discovery…to expedite the investigation process and deliver justice quickly and efficiently. We play an important role in making this a reality.” C.J.I.

Justice Chandrachud said that the new criminal law recently enacted by Parliament includes substantive crimes, procedures and evidence, and aims to digitize various aspects of criminal proceedings, making it easier for the judiciary. He said it was an important step towards modernizing the system.

Main concerns

The Chief Justice identified two main concerns related to digital transformation. The first is the risk of excluding individuals who do not have internet access or technical proficiency. “Therefore, there is an urgent need to ensure that the benefits of digitalization are equitably shared and that mechanisms are in place to address the digital divide.Second, there is an urgent need to streamline and track the chain of events. , special attention needs to be paid to digitizing basic processes such as filing an FIR to increase transparency from the beginning, he said.

He said investigations must be synchronized with court proceedings for effective and time-bound prosecutions. Given the complex nature of the investigation conducted by the CBI, courts have a daunting task to “avoid complicating cases and ensure that justice is served in accordance with the provisions of law,” he said. Ta.

“Our challenges of today and tomorrow require a coordinated effort. An effort that requires dedicated funding to upgrade infrastructure, synergies between different branches of criminal justice administration, and the environment. “A coordinated strategy to train all personnel to understand the rapid changes in the economy,” he said.

He suggested adopting a multi-pronged approach to integrate technology and court procedures to ensure that the seriousness of charges coupled with undue delays in CBI courts does not lead to a presumption of guilt.

The CJI said a virtual courtroom model was recently developed by the e-committee of the Supreme Court. When implemented as a pilot project, it will be possible to convert audio to text simultaneously. “Mobile applications can be designed with predefined timelines that correspond to different stages of an investigation or trial. They should include an alert system that notifies parties when deadlines approach.” he said.

On technological tools for investigation, the CJI said advanced data analysis is being used by investigating agencies to navigate vast amounts of information and uncover patterns and connections that remain hidden. In the murder investigation, US forensic experts used advanced DNA analysis techniques to match the suspect to genetic material found at the crime scene.

The CJI said AI stands out as a game changer. The U.S. Identification Tool has helped identify more than 17,000 child victims of sex trafficking, resulting in a 63% reduction in investigation time. “…However, we must recognize that AI is not free of bias and bias. Because of skewed data, AI is not capable of performing community-based profiling of marginalized social groups for high crime. “It could lead to…” he said.

He also said a delicate balance must be maintained between search and seizure powers and that the right to privacy of individuals is the cornerstone of a fair and just society. A petition was recently filed in the Supreme Court highlighting the absence of a clearly defined legal framework governing procedures for searching and seizing electronic devices. The Supreme Court directed federal agencies to abide by the 2020 CBI (Criminal) Manual on digital evidence until formal guidelines are established.

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