CHENNAI: The Madras High Court today dismissed an intervening application filed by DMDK chief and leader of the opposition Vijayakant, in a main petition, seeking a direction for live telecast of assembly proceedings.
The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam while doing so, directed that the main petition by the state unit of Lok Satta party be posted for further hearing before it with matters related to the year 2012.
"The petitioner before us in the original petition has not impleaded the applicant nor has it moved any application for having the applicant impleaded. The petitioner thus seeks some extra mileage by getting itself impleaded in the petition. We see no need of the petitioner to assist us in the proceedings which are in the final hearing stage."
The petitioner submitted that assembly proceedings in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are telecast at present. In Tamil Nadu, though it is covered in full, only the edited version was released to the media for telecast.
"The citizens' right to know what business transpires in the state legislative assembly is being curtailed by the state through releasing only selective videos," it said. Advocate General A L Somayaji submitted that the financial repercussions have been set out. If live telecast has to be done, it would cost nearly Rs 60 crore as mentioned in the counter affidavit by the Assembly Secretary.
The matter was in the domain of the Speaker and it would be left to him to decide if there was a need to have additional mode of dissemination of assembly procedures through a live telecast, he said.
The counter said that apart from the above amount to run the channel, 82 personnel, comprising technicians like camera operators, audio and lighting engineers, floor managers, editors and producers have to be assembled and would involve a tentative recurring expenditure of Rs 20.6 lakh a month.
It denied petitioner's charges of there being no transparency in assembly proceedings, saying that public are allowed to view it from the visitor's' gallery and that the print media continued to be one of the main sources of information relating to business transactions of the proceedings.
Almost all important sections of media have been given place in the press gallery and a two-hour duration of video footage is given to visual media on the date of sittings and made available to them every evening, it said. Hence the counter sought dismissal of the petition.