Live streaming of court proceedings: Supreme Court seeks Centre's reply

The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to file its response to pleas seeking live streaming, video recording or transcribing of judicial proceedings in courts.

Published: 04th May 2018 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2018 12:28 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court (File | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to file its response to pleas seeking live streaming, video recording or transcribing of judicial proceedings in courts.

While seeking the Centre's response within four weeks on the PIL filed by senior Indira Jaising, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was irked over the contents of a similar petition filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Mathews Nedumpara.

"How can you make such kind of allegations against the judges of the Bombay High Court? This is totally uncalled for," the bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

"Heard.dismissed.Your (Nedumpara) petition is dismissed.Now, you just stop. Enough. Enough," the bench said when the lawyer did not stop arguing even after the order was passed.

When Nedumpara referred to the campaign for transparency in judiciary on social media including WhatsApp, Justice Chandrachud said, "Now, you have talked about social media. Recently, I have come across a message being circulated on WhatsApp that you have made a Bombay High Court judge a party in a case. how can you do this? This is contempt of court."

The practice of filing such petitions should must stop and this is the reason, this petition has been dismissed, the bench said, adding that the Bar is the protector of judges.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who has been asked to assist the court, also supported the dismissal of petition filed by Nedumpara by saying, "If a person has come to the court with unclean hands, then he should withdraw the petition and file a fresh petition.

" On the issue of live streaming or video recording of court proceedings, the top law officer said that in various countries this practice has been accepted and submitted that the Centre be given four weeks' time to file its counter affidavit in the PIL filed by Jaising.

The bench said that there should be brief submissions in behalf of lawyers and in Canada, advocates are given fixed time to finish their arguments and fixed the plea for hearing in July.

Earlier, the court had sought the assistance of the Attorney General on the batch of petitions seeking live streaming, video recording or transcribing the judicial proceedings.

Jaising, in her plea, has sought live streaming of matters of constitutional and national importance such as Aadhaar.

In a bid to bring in transparency, the top court had last year allowed the installation of CCTV recording with audio in trial courts and tribunals of each state.

Jaising has said that the citizens have the right to information and matters of constitutional and national importance can be live-streamed.

She has said in western countries, this system is in place and live streaming of court proceedings, including that of the International Court of Justice, are available on YouTube.

If live streaming of the top court's proceedings is not possible, then alternately video recording should be allowed, she said.

Jaising has said that with the top court hearing Aadhaar and other matters of great significance to the people, the proceedings can be live-streamed.

She said live streaming of Supreme Court cases of constitutional and national importance having an impact on the public at large, will empower and provide access to citizens who cannot personally come to the court due to socio-economic constraints.

The apex court may place restrictions on such videography and live streaming of proceedings, in cases where there are "countervailing interests of privacy as in family law cases, criminal law cases, as well as in the interests of witness testimonies in criminal matters", she said.

Another petition, filed by advocate Nedumpara, has sought video and audio recording of the court proceedings for enhanced transparency and greater accountability.

This was dismissed today.

A petition, filed by a law student, has also sought a direction for setting up live streaming rooms within the apex court premises and granting access to legal interns.

The plea, filed by Swapnil Tripathi, a student of National Law University in Jodhpur, has asked for requisite guidelines to facilitate witnessing of proceedings for the interns.

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