The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of attorney general K.K. Venugopal on a plea seeking live streaming of cases of constitutional and national importance which could have an impact on the public.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also sought the centre’s response on the issue.
The apex court’s decision to seek Venugopal’s opinion indicates that it is open to the idea of live-streaming important cases to let people know how they are adjudicated.
“Constitutional matters are those that affect every person and it is their right to know how they are adjudicated upon. It is a step forward towards transparency and is going to instil public confidence in the judiciary," said Rajiv Khanna, former dean of the Faculty of Law, Delhi University, who is currently the director of the Faculty of Law at SGT University, Gurugram.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, the petitioner in the case, clarified to the court that the petition sought live streaming of only cases of “constitutional and national importance that would impact the public".
She said that the court could consider laying down guidelines governing the same.
The public interest litigation filed by Jaising on 18 January held that live streaming and videography of proceedings of the apex court in matters of great public importance would be in keeping with the principle of “open access to justice" and would ensure “justice is not only done but is seen to be done".
It said that live streaming of cases of constitutional and national importance would empower and provide access to ordinary citizens who could not personally go to the court due to social and economic constraints, even though the decision would impact them.
Such an exercise would inspire confidence in the functioning of the judiciary as an institution and help in maintaining the respect that it deserved as a co-equal organ of the state, the petition said.
It highlighted cases that the apex court dealt with, including environmental issues, triple talaq, air pollution, the ban on firecrackers to prevent air and noise pollution and extra-judicial killings, all of which affect people 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 intrinsic to their right to be heard under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution, the petition added.