Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 13 March 2023

AI is transcribing SC proceedings

Source: By The Indian Express

The Supreme Court started a first-of-its-kind project to transcribe its proceedings live using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“We’ll see how it works, especially in the Constitution Bench matters, because then we’ll have a permanent record of arguments. Of course, it helps judges and the lawyers, but it will also help our law colleges. They can analyse how matters are argued…It is a huge resource,” Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said.

What proceedings are being transcribed?

The AI transcript is seen on the live-streaming screen of courtroom number 1, which is the CJI’s court. The five-judge Bench headed by the CJI is hearing the case related to the political crisis in Maharashtra.

The Bench had on 17 February 2023 deferred the decision on the question of whether to reconsider the 2016 verdict of the court in Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker, which had held that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly cannot decide on disqualification petitions when a motion seeking his own removal is pending.

What is the AI powering the transcription, and how is it doing?

The SC transcription is using Teres, which is a platform used often for transcribing arbitration proceedings. The platform is run by Nomology Technology Private Limited, a Bengaluru based company.

“If there are two or more voices at the same time that causes a little bit of a problem,” CJI Chandrachud said. “But they have personnel who will clean up the errors by the evening,” he added.

The transcript will also be shared with lawyers who argued cases for verification, and are likely to be uploaded on the SC website every evening.

What is the significance of this step?

The transcribing is the second major decision towards making the court more transparent after the SC’s decisions to livestream its proceedings before Constitution Benches.

The suggestion to transcribe hearings was made by senior advocate Indira Jaising in the plea she had filed seeking live telecast of court proceedings.

Are transcripts available for courts in other countries?

In the UScourt transcripts are available to litigants and the public. The US Supreme Court provides audio and text transcripts of the proceedings. Many local courts in the US also make a stenographic record of most court proceedings.

In the UK, a litigant can ask for a transcript of the court proceedings for a fee if the hearing is recorded.