Amit Thukral discusses why judicial interference in matters of high technology may endanger development and progress

The Indian state has adopted what can best be described as an Orwellian approach to the advent of technology. There is an inherent resistance to allowing the use of cutting-edge technology. This guarded stance has permeated a number of technologically advanced sectors including nuclear power, telecommunications, agricultural biotechnology and information technology.

While a public policy governing cutting-edge technology requires structured debate and analysis, this needs to be balanced and timely to meet the needs of various industries, institutions and sectors of society.

Indian courts are presented with many public interest litigations (PILs) that raise highly technical issues involving complex questions of policy making and industrial development. Intervention and prolonged supervision by courts delay the march of technology and its beneficial use even where a clear public policy has been adopted by the state. This article addresses the judiciary’s role with respect to cases involving issues of high technology.

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Amit Thukral is assistant general counsel at Monsanto in India. He can be reached at Priyanka Butani assisted in writing this article during her summer internship at Monsanto.