This article on ‘Laws governing AI in India: Everything You Should Know’ was written by Diya Saraswat, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing numerous aspects of our lives, including technology, industry, healthcare, and governance. New Open AI chat bots like Chat GPT, BARD AI, Midjourney, etc. are substituting the traditional way of writing content, software development, logistics and much more to ensure responsible AI implementation. In order to address associated legal challenges that will come along with the AI boom in the country, India has established a set of laws and regulations. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the laws governing AI in India, along with relevant case laws and legal provisions.
What is ‘AI’?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the replication of human intelligence in machines, where they are programmed to mimic human-like thinking and learning abilities. It involves the development of computer systems that can undertake tasks traditionally requiring human intelligence, including comprehension of natural language, pattern recognition, decision-making, problem-solving, and adaptability to new circumstances.
Boom of AI in India
According to Hindustan Times, India’s AI market is likely to see a 20% rise in the next few years . Former CJI SA Bobde has also spoken about increasing and adapting AI in India legal system which may actually help clear a lot of case backlog . Gone will be the days when it would take 20 years to dispose of a criminal case or get a divorce.
Many law firms such as Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Fox Mandal have adopted this technology. There is also a growth of legal AI platforms such as Onelaw AI , legal robot , LeGAI, PatentPal, Latch etc. According to Ibef, number of AI start-ups has increased 14 times from 2000 to 2022 and as a direct result, India’s AI market likely to see 20% growth over next five years.
Legal provisions governing AI in India
At this point In India, there are no specific provisions that deal with AI but the government is expressing concerns regarding the non – availability of these laws. However recently, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that there are no regulations regarding Ai in India and the government is not possible to bring provisions regulating Ai since there are a lot of moral and ethical issues with growth of AI in India.
Here are some provisions that more or less deal with Ai:
- Information Technology Act, 2000:
The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) serves as the fundamental legislation governing electronic transactions and digital governance. Although it does not explicitly mention AI, specific provisions within the Act are applicable to AI-related activities. Section 43A of the IT Act enables compensation in case of a breach of data privacy resulting from negligent handling of sensitive personal information. This provision is particularly relevant in the context of AI systems that process user data. Another provision that can be applicable to the artificial intellgience Section 73 A of this act.
Case Law: In the landmark case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court of India recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. This ruling emphasizes the need to safeguard personal data from AI-based systems.
- Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019:
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDP Bill) is currently under consideration and aims to establish a comprehensive framework for protecting personal data. The bill introduces principles and obligations for entities processing personal data, including consent, purpose limitation, data localization, and accountability. Additionally, it proposes the creation of a Data Protection Authority to oversee and enforce the provisions of the bill.
The PDP Bill includes provisions addressing profiling and automated decision-making. It mandates explicit consent from individuals when processing personal data using AI algorithms that significantly impact their rights and interests.
- Indian Copyright Act, 1957:
The Indian Copyright Act, 1957 safeguards original literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works, granting exclusive rights to creators and prohibiting unauthorized use or reproduction. The rise of AI-generated content has prompted discussions regarding copyright ownership and infringement liability.
Case Law: In the case of Gramophone Company of India Ltd. v. Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. (2011), the Delhi High Court determined that AI-generated music produced by a computer program lacks human creativity and, therefore, is ineligible for copyright protection. This case clarifies the copyrightability of AI-generated content in India.
- National e-Governance Plan:
The National e-Governance Plan aims to digitally empower Indian society by providing online government services. AI plays a vital role in enhancing the efficiency and accessibility of e-governance. Various government departments have integrated AI systems to automate processes, improve decision-making, and enhance citizen services.
- New education Policy:
The Indian government recently launched its NEP which mentioned about provisions regarding special coding classes for students of 6th standard. The government is focusing on establishing India as the next innovation hub.
Recently Niti Ayog, (planning commission of India) also launched AIRAWAT which stands for AI Research, Analytics and knowledge Assimilation platform which considers all the necessary requirements of AI in India.
Loopholes in legal system of AI in India
The Indian system suffers from a lot of disadvantages when it comes to AI. Some of them are :
- Insufficiency of Comprehensive AI-Specific Legislation: Presently, India lacks dedicated legislation that specifically deals with AI. While certain provisions within existing laws like the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the forthcoming Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, touch upon AI-related aspects, they do not comprehensively address the unique challenges and complexities posed by AI technologies.
- Absence of Clear and Enforceable Ethical Guidelines: The absence of well-defined and enforceable ethical guidelines for AI development and usage in India poses a challenge. This dearth of comprehensive guidelines may lead to inconsistent practices and potential misuse of AI systems.
- Bias and Discrimination Concerns: AI systems can inadvertently perpetuate biases and discrimination, as they heavily rely on historical data that may reflect existing societal biases. The current legal framework in India does not explicitly tackle issues related to bias and discrimination in AI algorithms, leaving room for potential discriminatory practices.
- Accountability and Liability Challenges: The complexity and autonomy of AI systems make it difficult to assign liability in case of harm or errors caused by these systems. Determining responsibility and accountability for AI-related incidents or accidents can pose legal challenges under the existing laws.
- Lack of Sufficient Regulatory Oversight: While the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, proposes the establishment of a Data Protection Authority, there is a need for a dedicated regulatory body to comprehensively oversee AI technologies. The absence of a specific regulatory authority for AI can result in fragmented oversight and limited enforcement of AI-related regulations.
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Ambiguity: The existing intellectual property laws in India may not adequately address the protection of AI-generated content, inventions, and innovations. Questions regarding copyright ownership and the patentability of AI-generated works can create ambiguity and uncertainty. These issues are known as ‘ Attribution issues ’.
With an increase in AI, Recognizing the significance of regulating AI for ethical and responsible use, India has implemented legal frameworks to address associated challenges. While there is no comprehensive AI-specific law, existing legislation such as the Information Technology Act and forthcoming regulations like the Personal Data Protection Bill provide essential provisions. As AI continues to advance, it is crucial to monitor legal developments and ensure that the laws keep pace with technological advancements, striking a balance between innovation and protecting individual rights.
List of references:
- “Future of Data Science and AI in India “, India Brand Equity FOundation, May 2023, available at: https://www.ibef.org/research/case-study/future-of-data-science-and-ai-in-india#:~:text=While%20the%20AI%20market%20in,from%202000%20till%20September%202022 (last visited 27 June 2023)
- “Laws Related To Artificial Intelligence In India “, INBA Viewpoint, 7 June 2023, available at: https://inbaviewpoint.org/laws-related-to-artificial-intelligence-in-india/#:~:text=AI%20LAWS%20IN%20INDIA&text=There%20are%20certain%20provisions%20mentioned,law%20and%20other%20cyber%20law (last visited 27 June 2023)
- Yashi, “Artificial Intelligence And Laws In India”, Legal Services India, available at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-8171-artificial-intelligence-and-laws-in-india.html (last visited 27 June 2023)