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Colombian Judge Uses ChatGPT; What Would It Say if Indian Courts Did Too?

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

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(This article is a part of 'AI Told You So', a special series by The Quint that takes a closer look at the possibilities unlocked by Artificial Intelligence in various sectors and walks of life, where the technology stands today, and the challenges ahead.)

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.
"The arguments for this decision will be determined in line with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).”

Nope, these are not words of a bot, from the year 2050.

These are, in fact, the words of a judge in 2023, who used ChatGPT to pronounce a judgment, in what seems to be the first time a legal decision has been made with the assistance of an AI text generator.

Or, at least, the first time it has been openly acknowledged.

Colombian Judge Juan Manuel Padilla Garcia said he used the AI tool to ask  legal questions about a case and included its responses in his decision, according to a court document dated 30 January.

Colombian Judge Uses ChatGPT; What Would It Say if Indian Courts Did Too?

  1. 1. But What Questions Did He Ask?

    The case was about whether a health insurance company should provide coverage for medical treatment to an autistic child.

    In the court document, the legal questions put to the AI text generator included:

    • Is an autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?

    • In these cases, should protection actions be granted?

    • Is demanding the moderator fee in these cases a barrier to accessing the health service?

    • Has the jurisprudence of the constitutional court made favourable decisions in similar cases?

    Besides including ChatGPT’s responses to these questions, the judge also incorporated his own legal arguments and clarified that the AI was used to "extend the arguments of the adopted decision." 

    The judgment: He then went on to rule that the entirety of the child’s medical expenses and transport costs should be paid by his medical plan as his parents could not afford them.

    Expand
  2. 2. So, We Asked ChatGPT a Few Questions in The Indian Context And…

    Q. Can Amitabh Bachchan’s pictures, voice and name be used without his consent?

    We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

    ChatGPT's Response: The use of Amitabh Bachchan's pictures, voice, and name would depend on his ownership rights and the laws regarding personality rights and intellectual property in the jurisdiction where the usage occurs.

    In general, a person's name, likeness, and voice are considered to be part of their personal identity and protected under laws such as the right to privacy or publicity.

    The unauthorized use of a person's name, likeness, or voice in advertising or commercial contexts is generally prohibited without their consent.

    In the case of Amitabh Bachchan, if he owns the rights to his pictures, voice, and name, then their use by others would require his permission.

    If he has assigned the rights to these elements of his identity to a third party, such as a production company or a talent agency, then that third party would control the usage rights and could license their use to others.

    Context: The Delhi High Court in November last year passed an interim order restraining persons at large from infringing the personality and publicity rights of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.

    Bachchan had approached the court seeking an omnibus order protecting his name, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent, in any way or form.

    Q.  Can reservations be granted solely on the basis of economic criteria?

    We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

    ChatGPT's response: The Indian Constitution provides for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions to promote equality of opportunity and to address systemic discrimination faced by historically marginalized communities such as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

    The purpose of reservations is to address the cumulative disadvantages faced by these communities, and not to provide benefits based solely on economic criteria.

    Context: The Supreme Court in its majority verdict pronounced in November last year, upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2019, which introduced 10 percent reservations for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and educational institutions.

    In doing so, it excluded the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes.

    Meanwhile, the minority judgment in the case said held the reservations “unconstitutional” and said:

    By excluding the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes, the amendment practices constitutionally prohibited forms of discrimination.

    Q. Can forcible sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife in a marital relationship be labelled as rape?

    We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

    ChatGPT's response: Yes, forcible sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife in a marital relationship can be labeled as rape. The key factor in determining whether an act is rape is the absence of consent.

    If one spouse engages in sexual intercourse with the other without their consent, it is considered rape, regardless of the relationship between the parties.

    Marital rape is a serious violation of an individual's bodily autonomy and human rights, and it is important for society to recognize this and take steps to hold perpetrators accountable.

    Criminalizing marital rape sends a message that such behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and it provides a mechanism for holding perpetrators accountable. This can also have a deterrent effect and help to reduce the incidence of marital rape.

    Context: The Supreme Court is in the process of hearing petitions challenging the exclusion of marital rape from the definition of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC 375).

    However, in May last year, the Delhi High Court had delivered a split verdict on petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape – while one judge said “legitimate expectation of sex” is an “inexorable” aspect of marriage, the other said the “right to withdraw consent at any given point in time forms the core of the woman’s right to life and liberty”.

    Additionally, in September last year, a Supreme Court bench, while passing a verdict on unmarried women being entitled to seek abortion in the 20-24  week-period had held that the meaning of rape must be held to include "marital rape" for the purpose of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and Rules.

    Q. Is protesting illegal in india?

    We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

    ChatGPT's response: Protesting is a constitutional right in India, protected by the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Under Indian law, protests must be peaceful and cannot cause a disturbance to public order or incite violence.

    In recent years, there have been instances of peaceful protests being met with excessive force by the police, and restrictions being imposed on the freedom of assembly and expression. In some cases, protesters have been arrested and charged under laws such as the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

    It is important to note that the right to protest is a fundamental right in India and should be exercised in a peaceful and responsible manner. The Indian government has an obligation to respect and protect this right and to ensure that peaceful protesters are not subjected to violence or repression.

    Context: "Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action," the Supreme Court had held in a 2012 verdict (Re-Ramlila Maidan Incident Dt ... vs Home Secretary And Ors).

    But as has been witnessed, in a lot of recent instances, the Unlawful Activites Prevention Act (UAPA) -- a preventive detention law, which allows government to designate an individual as a “terrorist" without trial and makes bail difficult-- is being used to stifle dissent.

    A study by The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), which cites data from the National Crime Records Bureau, reveals that less than 3% of the arrests made under UAPA between 2015 and 2020 resulted in convictions. 

    Further, the high rate of acquittal (97.2%) showed that prosecution under UAPA lacks merit in huge majority of the cases, PUCL said in its report titled “UAPA: Criminalising Dissent and State Terror."

    Expand
  3. 3. So, is that it? Has AI Taken Over Courts Now?

    The answer to that can be found in Garcia’s judgment itself:

    "The purpose of including these AI-produced texts is in no way to replace the judge's decision."

    “What we are really looking for is to optimise the time spent drafting judgments after corroborating the information provided by AI,” he added.

    And are there other recent examples of AI being used in legal proceedings? Yes.

    The world’s first robot lawyer was set to run on a defendant’s smartphone through an app called ‘DoNotPay.' Its job is to listen to court arguments in real time, and tell the defendant what to say via an earpiece. 

    DoNotPay, the app which is currently available in the United Kingdom and United States, had kept the location of the court and the name of the defendant under wraps.

    The hearing was supposed to happen in February but, its CEO Joshua Browder was reportedly threatened after news got out:

    "Multiple state bars have threatened us," Browder told NPR.

     "One even said a referral to the district attorney's office and prosecution and prison time would be possible,” he added.

    Following this, Browder decided not to go ahead with his ‘robot lawyer.’

    Expand
  4. 4. And, What’s Happening In India?

    In India, the use of AI has so far been restricted to automating back-end work, and has not yet been used as a decision-making tool for the judiciary. 

    “To explore the use of AI in judicial domain, the Supreme Court of India has constituted Artificial Intelligence Committee which has mainly identified application of AI technology in translation of judicial documents; legal research assistance and [rocess automation,” Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had said.

    At present, these include:

    > ‘Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software’ (SUVAS), which is being used to translate judgments from English into Indian languages

    > ‘Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Courts Efficiency’ (SUPACE), a tool to help judges conduct legal research.


    But AI Can Help With Case Pendency

    Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and newer technologies can help the judiciary dispose of thousands of pending cases, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar had said in May 2022.

    “Consider Motor Vehicle (MV) cases that account for highest in any court… In these categories, let us take the simple injuries where the medical expenditure and compensation sought for disability and loss of livelihood is around Rs 1 lakh. On an average it takes 2-3 years to dispose of such cases in a court… can we not use algorithm to ensure that at least 20,000 of such MV cases are disposed of in one year?” he had said.

    And What Of Criminal Cases?

    Experts think that since each criminal case needs to be decided based on unique evidence, using AI in these instances can turn out to be difficult.

    “Generalising AI for all criminal laws is impossible because each criminal case has unique evidence. As a result, catching each data point for AI machines is difficult,”
    Tanaya Das, Kolkata-based research scholar working on AI to The Sunday Guardian

    And then, comes the possibility of “systemic discrimination” being passed on.

    "If we know that systemic discrimination is plaguing our communities and misinforming our police data, then how can we be sure that the data informing these algorithms is going to produce the right outcomes?" asks Neha Chugh, in her paper “Risk Assessment Tools on Trial: AI Systems Go?”

    According to her, using AI would “simply transfer biases from humans to human-created algorithms.”

    As Chugh concludes:

    "Are we there yet? In my opinion, no. But if I can be proven wrong, I would be the first to change to my mind."

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

But What Questions Did He Ask?

The case was about whether a health insurance company should provide coverage for medical treatment to an autistic child.

In the court document, the legal questions put to the AI text generator included:

  • Is an autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?

  • In these cases, should protection actions be granted?

  • Is demanding the moderator fee in these cases a barrier to accessing the health service?

  • Has the jurisprudence of the constitutional court made favourable decisions in similar cases?

Besides including ChatGPT’s responses to these questions, the judge also incorporated his own legal arguments and clarified that the AI was used to "extend the arguments of the adopted decision." 

The judgment: He then went on to rule that the entirety of the child’s medical expenses and transport costs should be paid by his medical plan as his parents could not afford them.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

So, We Asked ChatGPT a Few Questions in The Indian Context And…

Q. Can Amitabh Bachchan’s pictures, voice and name be used without his consent?

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

ChatGPT's Response: The use of Amitabh Bachchan's pictures, voice, and name would depend on his ownership rights and the laws regarding personality rights and intellectual property in the jurisdiction where the usage occurs.

In general, a person's name, likeness, and voice are considered to be part of their personal identity and protected under laws such as the right to privacy or publicity.

The unauthorized use of a person's name, likeness, or voice in advertising or commercial contexts is generally prohibited without their consent.

In the case of Amitabh Bachchan, if he owns the rights to his pictures, voice, and name, then their use by others would require his permission.

If he has assigned the rights to these elements of his identity to a third party, such as a production company or a talent agency, then that third party would control the usage rights and could license their use to others.

Context: The Delhi High Court in November last year passed an interim order restraining persons at large from infringing the personality and publicity rights of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Bachchan had approached the court seeking an omnibus order protecting his name, image, voice or any of his characteristics without his consent, in any way or form.

Q.  Can reservations be granted solely on the basis of economic criteria?

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

ChatGPT's response: The Indian Constitution provides for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions to promote equality of opportunity and to address systemic discrimination faced by historically marginalized communities such as Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The purpose of reservations is to address the cumulative disadvantages faced by these communities, and not to provide benefits based solely on economic criteria.

Context: The Supreme Court in its majority verdict pronounced in November last year, upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2019, which introduced 10 percent reservations for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and educational institutions.

In doing so, it excluded the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes.

Meanwhile, the minority judgment in the case said held the reservations “unconstitutional” and said:

By excluding the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes, the amendment practices constitutionally prohibited forms of discrimination.

Q. Can forcible sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife in a marital relationship be labelled as rape?

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

ChatGPT's response: Yes, forcible sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife in a marital relationship can be labeled as rape. The key factor in determining whether an act is rape is the absence of consent.

If one spouse engages in sexual intercourse with the other without their consent, it is considered rape, regardless of the relationship between the parties.

Marital rape is a serious violation of an individual's bodily autonomy and human rights, and it is important for society to recognize this and take steps to hold perpetrators accountable.

Criminalizing marital rape sends a message that such behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated, and it provides a mechanism for holding perpetrators accountable. This can also have a deterrent effect and help to reduce the incidence of marital rape.

Context: The Supreme Court is in the process of hearing petitions challenging the exclusion of marital rape from the definition of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC 375).

However, in May last year, the Delhi High Court had delivered a split verdict on petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape – while one judge said “legitimate expectation of sex” is an “inexorable” aspect of marriage, the other said the “right to withdraw consent at any given point in time forms the core of the woman’s right to life and liberty”.

Additionally, in September last year, a Supreme Court bench, while passing a verdict on unmarried women being entitled to seek abortion in the 20-24  week-period had held that the meaning of rape must be held to include "marital rape" for the purpose of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and Rules.

Q. Is protesting illegal in india?

We asked ChatGPT legal questions from Indian cases and here's what it said.

ChatGPT's response: Protesting is a constitutional right in India, protected by the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Under Indian law, protests must be peaceful and cannot cause a disturbance to public order or incite violence.

In recent years, there have been instances of peaceful protests being met with excessive force by the police, and restrictions being imposed on the freedom of assembly and expression. In some cases, protesters have been arrested and charged under laws such as the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It is important to note that the right to protest is a fundamental right in India and should be exercised in a peaceful and responsible manner. The Indian government has an obligation to respect and protect this right and to ensure that peaceful protesters are not subjected to violence or repression.

Context: "Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action," the Supreme Court had held in a 2012 verdict (Re-Ramlila Maidan Incident Dt ... vs Home Secretary And Ors).

But as has been witnessed, in a lot of recent instances, the Unlawful Activites Prevention Act (UAPA) -- a preventive detention law, which allows government to designate an individual as a “terrorist" without trial and makes bail difficult-- is being used to stifle dissent.

A study by The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), which cites data from the National Crime Records Bureau, reveals that less than 3% of the arrests made under UAPA between 2015 and 2020 resulted in convictions. 

Further, the high rate of acquittal (97.2%) showed that prosecution under UAPA lacks merit in huge majority of the cases, PUCL said in its report titled “UAPA: Criminalising Dissent and State Terror."

0

So, is that it? Has AI Taken Over Courts Now?

The answer to that can be found in Garcia’s judgment itself:

"The purpose of including these AI-produced texts is in no way to replace the judge's decision."

“What we are really looking for is to optimise the time spent drafting judgments after corroborating the information provided by AI,” he added.

And are there other recent examples of AI being used in legal proceedings? Yes.

The world’s first robot lawyer was set to run on a defendant’s smartphone through an app called ‘DoNotPay.' Its job is to listen to court arguments in real time, and tell the defendant what to say via an earpiece. 

DoNotPay, the app which is currently available in the United Kingdom and United States, had kept the location of the court and the name of the defendant under wraps.

The hearing was supposed to happen in February but, its CEO Joshua Browder was reportedly threatened after news got out:

"Multiple state bars have threatened us," Browder told NPR.

 "One even said a referral to the district attorney's office and prosecution and prison time would be possible,” he added.

Following this, Browder decided not to go ahead with his ‘robot lawyer.’

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

And, What’s Happening In India?

In India, the use of AI has so far been restricted to automating back-end work, and has not yet been used as a decision-making tool for the judiciary. 

“To explore the use of AI in judicial domain, the Supreme Court of India has constituted Artificial Intelligence Committee which has mainly identified application of AI technology in translation of judicial documents; legal research assistance and [rocess automation,” Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had said.

At present, these include:

> ‘Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software’ (SUVAS), which is being used to translate judgments from English into Indian languages

> ‘Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Courts Efficiency’ (SUPACE), a tool to help judges conduct legal research.


But AI Can Help With Case Pendency

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and newer technologies can help the judiciary dispose of thousands of pending cases, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar had said in May 2022.

“Consider Motor Vehicle (MV) cases that account for highest in any court… In these categories, let us take the simple injuries where the medical expenditure and compensation sought for disability and loss of livelihood is around Rs 1 lakh. On an average it takes 2-3 years to dispose of such cases in a court… can we not use algorithm to ensure that at least 20,000 of such MV cases are disposed of in one year?” he had said.

And What Of Criminal Cases?

Experts think that since each criminal case needs to be decided based on unique evidence, using AI in these instances can turn out to be difficult.

“Generalising AI for all criminal laws is impossible because each criminal case has unique evidence. As a result, catching each data point for AI machines is difficult,”
Tanaya Das, Kolkata-based research scholar working on AI to The Sunday Guardian

And then, comes the possibility of “systemic discrimination” being passed on.

"If we know that systemic discrimination is plaguing our communities and misinforming our police data, then how can we be sure that the data informing these algorithms is going to produce the right outcomes?" asks Neha Chugh, in her paper “Risk Assessment Tools on Trial: AI Systems Go?”

According to her, using AI would “simply transfer biases from humans to human-created algorithms.”

As Chugh concludes:

"Are we there yet? In my opinion, no. But if I can be proven wrong, I would be the first to change to my mind."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Supreme Court   ChatGPT   AI Told You So 

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