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Supreme Court open to live-streaming of its proceedings

A Supreme Court bench had asked the government to give suggestions to the attorney general for formulating holistic guidelines for livestreaming of court proceedings

In a bid to bring in transparency, the Supreme Court had last year allowed the installation of CCTV recording with audio in trial courts and tribunals in every state. Photo: iStockPremium
In a bid to bring in transparency, the Supreme Court had last year allowed the installation of CCTV recording with audio in trial courts and tribunals in every state. Photo: iStock

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it is open to live-streaming of its proceedings after attorney general K.K Venugopal informed the court that the centre was not opposed to the idea.

Venugopal told the court that the centre would set up a television channel for live-streaming of court proceedings along the lines of Rajya Sabha TV.

He, however, expressed reservations on live-steaming of certain categories of cases, such as personal matters.

Hence, the court asked Venugopal to frame “comprehensive and holistic guidelines" on the issue by 23 July and said that the exercise could start on an experimental basis in one court.

Calling it the “need of the hour", the apex court observed that it would result in increased access to justice.

Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud was hearing two public interest litigations (PILs)—one by senior advocate Indira Jaising and another by a law student Swapnil Tripathi—seeking live-streaming of all cases, specifically the ones of constitutional and national importance having an impact on the public.

Live-streaming of cases of constitutional and national importance will empower and provide access to ordinary citizens who cannot personally go to the court due to social and economic constraints, even though the decision would impact them, Jaising’s petition argues.

The petition refers to courts dealing with issues of environment, triple talaq, air pollution, the ban on liquor sales near national highways, ban on firecrackers to prevent air and noise pollution, and extra judicial killings, all of which affect the public who do not get to see how decisions are made by the court.

Enabling citizens to understand the reasoning in cases affecting their rights forms part of their right to dignity and is an intrinsic value of their right to be heard under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution, the petition added.

It says that it is necessary that those who are impacted by the judgements of the court have a right to be aware of the manner in which decisions are taken.

The PIL by Tripathi seeks appropriate directions for setting up live-streaming rooms within the apex court premises for legal interns.

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Updated: 09 Jul 2018, 09:37 PM IST
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