NEW DELHI: In a bid to enhance transparency, the Ministry of Law and Justice has again mooted the audio-video recording of court proceedings and asked the Chief Justice of India to consider the proposal again.
If the government’s proposal becomes a reality, India will not be the first to record trial proceedings – 45 countries, including the US and the UK, are already doing so.
The matter had come up for discussion at a meeting of the e-committee of the Supreme Court on January 8, 2014. The then Chief Justice of India had advised the deferment of the audio-video recording of court proceedings as he wanted the issue to be discussed with the judges of the apex court and 24 High Courts. Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda wrote to the CJI on July 10 and again on January 20 this year requesting him to consider the issue afresh.
The ministry says it has been receiving suggestions favouring the audio-video recording of proceedings for greater transparency. The electronic recording of court proceedings would usher in transparency as it would discourage witnesses from going back on their statements. Rerecording of witnesses’ statements often leads to unwarranted delay in trials and adds to the pendency list, says the agenda note for the meeting of the Advisory Council of National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.
There are over 3.64 crore cases pending in various courts. Of these, almost 3 crore are pending in subordinate courts alone, according to data compiled by the ministry.
The top court had last year dismissed petitions seeking approval for video recording judicial proceedings. The view put forth was that the legal system had not reached the level where the video recording of court proceedings could be allowed.
Currently, litigants can access case status information in respect of over 4.76 crore pending and decided cases and approximately 1 crore orders/judgments in more than 13,000 district and subordinate courts. The availability of data aids transparency and facilitates easy access to lawyers and litigants.
video-audio recording of Trials prevalent in 45 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Sri Lanka, France, Germany and even the United Arab Emirates
In July, for the first time in the Indian judiciary, the Calcutta HC recorded proceedings on a directive by Justice Aniruddha Bose
Bose’s order came on persistent pleas by advocate Deepak Khosla
In 2010, Khosla made the same request to the Delhi HC, but his plea was not accepted