Outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde, credited with ensuring Supreme Court's quick transition to technology during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, referred to new kind of "equality and inequality" in virtual hearings, saying now "access to justice depends on access to technology".
In his farewell address at the virtual function organised by Supreme Court Bar Association, the 47th CJI said the performance of India's top court was "among the best" in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic as it was not closed even for a day due to the deadly virus.
He said the pandemic required the Supreme Court to learn new things about communications, and it was decided that the video conferencing was the way forward.
"We have got used to it and it is here to stay in certain cases. I have flagged certain intractable problems of virtual hearing and one of them is the new kind of equality, inequality which is created.
"I don't wish to dwell much on it, except to say that equality, inequality that already existed has been augmented by the fact that VCs have become technology dependent and your access to justice depends on your access to technology," he said.
Talking about the importance of the artificial intelligence (AI), Justice Bobde said: "If we won't become familiar with the AI, we will find ourselves at a great disadvantage. It is with that spirit that AI has been resorted to. "This is warning i would like to issue in adoption of artificial intelligence as I think its futile to ignore it," he said, adding that "if we don't adopt it we will be at great disadvantage."