NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India on Thursday opened its doors to everyone as it launched a web portal to facilitate a guided tour of the complex. The tour would be free of cost and needs to be booked online.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi announced the one-hour tour, in which a maximum of 20 persons will be allowed at a time. It will be open to the general public from 10 am to 1 pm every Saturday, when the courts are not in session.
At present, the general public is not allowed entry into the apex court's premises, where only lawyers, law interns, law students, litigants and media persons are allowed.
The Supreme Court is located in a high-security zone and entry into its premises is regulated: visitors are given an electronic access card or daily passes.
Visitors will be accompanied by a guide throughout the tour and introduced to parts of historical importance.
After doing the booking online, the visitors will receive bar-coded messages on their mobile phones. These barcodes will help them gain entry into the premises for the guided tour.
The guided tour would include a visit to the main lawns, where the statue of justice is located, to courtroom number one, the Chief Justice's court, the judges' library, the judges' corridor, as well as the museum.
The top courts in the United Kingdom and Canada already allow such guided tours for members of the public.
The CJI has also established an in-house think tank to strengthen the knowledge infrastructure of the apex court and enhance its capacity to meet its increasing knowledge needs. The research will be a contribution of the apex court to the development of law.