Senior Advocate and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that “physical and digital hearings have to go together” while stating that he was not in favour of completely doing away with physical court hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ravi Shankar Prasad further stated,
“It is essential to understand that digital and physical have to go together. Digital must supplement the physical and physical must compliment the digital. Yes, there are issues of security and privacy of data. We will take care of that…We will come with a robust data privacy law.”
Prasad was speaking on the theme Legal and Digital challenges for India Post COVID, at the fourth and final Prof NR Madhava Menon Memorial Lecture Series organized by Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad.
Prasad added that although he agreed with the concerns raised by the Bar Council of India with respect to the inaccessibility of the virtual court system, it was also important to realise that physical hearings and digital hearings have to go hand in hand.
The Law Minister further said that lawyers needed to embrace advances in technology such as the advent of Artificial Intelligence.
“But can Artificial Intelligence cross-examine? No”, he quickly added.
He went on to speak about the spread of fake news in the digital ecosystem.
“It is some people’s job to only spread negativity. We acknowledge the right of criticism and right to ask questions. That is what democracy is about. But if some people seek to weaken the morale of the country, particularly at the instance of foriegn powers, to create discord, promote divisiveness…then we need to guard against them.”
“Just above the Fundamental Rights, what photograph is there? Lord Ram returning to Ayodhya..,And what is there above Directive Principles of State Policy? It shows Lord Krishna preaching Geeta…Lord Hanuman is there, Natraj is there. There is Rani of Jhansi. There is Guru Govind Singh, Shivaji, Mahatma Gandhi. There is Akbar but not Babar and Aurangzeb.
These days, there is a lot of debate that I believe in constitutional nationalism. No problem. I would tell those friends to please go through the original Constitution. What was the spirit of Indian Constitution? India bereft of its heritage…its culture cannot prosper. Post COVID, let us draw upon that finer springs of the great heritage of India with a commitment that we shall overcome…”