Batting for the use of technology in courts, the Supreme Court's Justice AM Khanwilkar on Sunday remarked that it would be disappointing if the legal fraternity does not innovate itself and keep abreast of technological advancements..The judge was invited as chief guest along with fellow apex court judge, Justice JK Maheshwari to speak at a symposium organised by the Bar Council of India in Indore on 'Court's technology' and 'Access to Justice'.Justice Khanwilkar stated that with changing times, it was essential for courts to acquaint themselves with technology."As technology has evolved, there is a need to evolve the adjudicatory processes...The world is moving ahead with technology. And as the judiciary of the world’s largest democracy, we cannot stay behind...Everyday, technology advances so much, and it would be disappointing if the legal fraternity does not innovate itself within time," the judge emphasized in his address. .Going back to the time the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak across the country, Justice Khanwilkar stated that while the pandemic threw open new kind of problems, it also opened up opportunities, one of which was the use of technology. "Post COVID pandemic, e-lawyering has become a skill that all lawyers must acquire quintessentially. Big data is the key to unlocking not only historic but futuristic course of arguments, which might as well be original, quick and more sophisticated than a single lawyer’s legal tool. We can use and develop various tools for research, drafting and educating as per local requirement. Today, block chain technology and non-fungible tokens have taken world by surprise," he said..He opined that over the past few decades, the judiciary as an institution succeeded in consolidating public confidence. However, with piling pending cases in courts and tribunals, the confidence of litigants is bound to be shaken.According to him, the reason was not only low productivity and disposal rates in courts, but also because of "human failings which result in manipulation of processes".Technology should be used in the process of courts only as a means of facilitation and not to replace decision making, he strongly opined. "It is undeniable that the process of decision making of judges cannot be supplanted by technology. Be it by way of AI, so long as law does not exclude process of appreciation of facts of weighing the equality in favour of one or the other party. Technology may be of help in processing of cases of classification and priority in hearing. In that sense, technology is only facilitator and cannot supplant judicial decision making process," the judge proposed..Justice Khanwilkar also had a few suggestions to the judges and members of the Bar present in the gathering. He observed that young lawyers suffered during the period when courts heard matters only by virtual hearing. Thus, he concluded that physical hearings ought not be done away with completely. "I stand for innovation and technology in courts, but also wish for it to continue in physical mode, subject to permission being given in special cases for virtual hearing, which can be beneficial to younger and senior members of the Bar," he expressed. Additionally, in the context of virtual hearings taking place, he requested lawyers to curb the practice of seeking adjournments with a view to reducing pendency of cases. He also proposed that litigants ought to get virtual access to their cases in courts to see what happens and to get a better understanding of the way ahead. "Today, significant population own smart phone with access to internet. Taking advantage of this, the lower courts and high courts should be accessible to everyone, even in the remotest location in the country," Justice Khanwilkar said concluding his speech..Read updates of the introductory session in the thread below.