On Wednesday, the Supreme Court allowed the live-streaming of court proceedings in the larger public interest. The Bench has said that proper rules with respect to live streaming will be framed very soon under Article 145 of the Constitution of India. While passing the order, the Supreme Court said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
The Supreme Court also observed that live-streaming of the proceedings will bring more transparency in judicial proceedings. Advocate Indira Jaising- who filed the plea for live-streaming of court proceedings- welcomed the decision and termed it as the ‘biggest judicial reform of the century’.
Live streaming and vedio recording of Supreme Court is the biggest judicial reform of the century, as Justice DYChandrachud says “sunshine is the biggest disinfectant “Now for all courts to be live streamed.@TheLeaflet_in @SreenivasanJain @t_d_h_nair @AnushaSoni23
— indira jaising (@IJaising) September 26, 2018
The incumbent government has also supported the live-streaming of the court proceedings and said that the practice can be extended to other courts as well depending on the success of the pilot project. The Central government has also put forward the idea of setting up of a media room where facility of live feed would be provided to litigants, law interns, lawyers and other visitors. The Centre said that it would help in reducing the congestion in the courtroom and corridors.
This decision of the Supreme Court is a very crucial step towards transparency and accountability. In a hearing on live-streaming, Attorney General of India– KK Venugopal- enumerated many other benefits of live-streaming the proceedings. He had said, “Knowing that the entire country can watch them, there will be fewer interruptions and raised voices on the part of the advocates…it will be a great lesson for them…if we observe the hearings in the British courts, we can see how sober and dignified they are.” He further continued, “It would also go a long way in the training of the interns who wish to learn from the highest court of the country and who are the future lawyers…ultimately, the suggestion is that the proceedings of all courts and not merely the Chief court or the Constitution benches should be shown.”
However, the Centre has maintained that the exercise of live-streaming should not be extended to matters pertaining to matrimonial cases, cases involving national security, rape cases, and also in the matters involving interests of juveniles or protection and safety of the private life of young offenders. The live-streaming would also be not conducted in the matters which can provoke communal violence.
Advocate and Petitioner-in Person, Indira Jaising had also stressed upon the need to include safeguards in order to prevent unauthorised reproduction of broadcasts. She had said, “The proceedings will be aired live and hence, it may be open for people to make clippings and create their own copies. Your Lordships must prohibit such production of clips, no matter how big or small, without the authorisation of the court.”
This is a revolutionary step, and it will go a long way in increasing the judiciary’s credibility and transparency. The judiciary has faced a lot of public anger, especially after some controversial midnight hearings. When people would watch live-streaming, a lot of doubts are likely to be cleared. It would also enhance the legal literacy of the people and would also increase institutional transparency. It would also make judiciary more accountable. This is a right step in the right direction.