Pilot Project To Start From Apex Court, HCs To Follow SuitAmitAnand.Choudhary@timesgroup.com
You can now watch court-room proceedings live after the Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to allow live-streaming of courtroom proceedings to put them under public glare and bring in transparency and accountability in judicial functioning.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that livestreaming of court proceedings is manifestly in public interest and it will help bring the work of the judiciary to the lives of citizens.
“… sunlight is the best disinfectant. Live-streaming, as an extension of the principle of open courts, will ensure that the interface between a court hearing with virtual reality will result in the dissemination of information in the widest possible sense, imparting transparency and accountability to the judicial process,” said Justice Chandrachud in a separate concurring verdict.
The pilot project for livestreaming would be initiated from the apex court and later extended to high courts and lower courts. To begin with, only a specified category of cases (those of national importance being argued before the Constitution Bench) would be be live-streamed as a pilot project but the mechanism would be set up in all courtrooms for live-streaming of proceedings.
The bench asked the Supreme Court to frame rules for permitting live broadcast of proceedings and put in place equipment, including cameras, in courtrooms. The court framed guidelines on live-streaming and said cases pertaining to sexual offences and matrimonial disputes be excluded. In a separate but concurring verdict, Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud said many developed countries have allowed livestreaming of court proceedings and judiciary in India should adopt it to enable people to have first-hand experience of proceedings.
“Live-streaming of courtroom proceedings will reduce the public’s reliance on second-hand narratives to obtain information about important judgements and the course of judicial hearings. Society will be able to view court proceedings first-hand and form reasoned and educated opinion about the functioning of courts. This will help reduce misinformation and misunderstanding about the judicial process. It will enhance the rule of law and promote better understanding of legal governance as part of the functioning of democracy,” the bench said.
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