Technology can ease access to legal services as it did with payments: Infosys’ Nandan Nilekani

Technology can ease access to legal services as it did with payments: Infosys’ Nandan Nilekani

Access to legal services could be made as simple as access to payments using technology, said Nandan Nilekani, Chairman and Co-Founder, Infosys, and Founding Chairman of UIDAI (Aadhaar).

“If I had told you in 2015 that there will be 350 million people who can make payment using QR code, one would have said it would be impossible. But, it happened, right? Just like we sorted out the identity of payments, through new technologies, access to judicial services at the fingertips can be provided,” he said delivering the 43rd Palkhivala Memorial Lecture on Friday.

The way to do this is not by trying to automate individual tasks but by taking a couple of high-volume, repetitive case types and fully automating them, he said. Two case types that are being looked at by the judiciary and others are cheque bounce and motor vehicle disputes – these two constitute nearly 20 percent of all pending cases and are repetitive, he added. Doing these full cycle of case type can bring efficiency and productivity which can be rolled out in a couple of High Courts, and if proven, it can be replicated, he said while speaking on the topic ‘India’s digital transformation: A new path for economic growth?’.

This is also happening through the Online Dispute Resolutions (ODR) system, which is now scaling up rapidly, he said. The number of disputes are going to rise dramatically, with most of the use cases covering unsecured loans, he added.

India has built the world’s largest ODR system. There are 110 enterprises, including 60 in the banking and financial sector alone who have embraced ODR. Over ten states are doing online Lok Adalat using ODR, and 70 million disputes have gone online in the past five years. The resolution rate is about 15 per cent but slowly increasing as they are getting more efficient, he said.

“The combination of using the ODR system to take on the new, smaller cases like financial disputes, and the regular judicial and legal system taking on two case types – cheque bounce and motor vehicle – we can start solving on both sides, showing the people what is possible. There are many legal and justice solutions that startups provide in areas like legal practice support, case management and public consultation,” he said.

“If we do strategic thinking with a longer-term focus, we can make a change. The experience of justice for every Indian is possible. We can do it in a sustainable way,” he said.

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