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Sunlight is the best disinfectant, SC opens itself to public viewing, live streaming begins

Proceedings in three constitution benches of the Indian Supreme Court were today opened to public viewing as proceedings were live streamed

Sabrangindia 27 Sep 2022

Live Streaming

In a historic and long overdue move, three Constitution Bench hearings in the Supreme Court began with live streaming from Tuesday, September 27. The proceedings were watched by thousands of viewers on the the Supreme Court's own platform webcast.gov.in/scindia/

There constitution benches sat on Tuesday, presided by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul respectively. The CJI-led Constitution Bench is hearing the EWS quota case (pleas challenging the 103rd Constitution Amendment). Justice Chandrachud's bench heard the petitions related to the Shiv Sena party split and subsequent toppling of the Maharashtra government. Justice Kaul's bench heard the matter relating to the vailidity of the All India Bar Examination. 

It was four years ago, on September 26, 2018, the Supreme Court in the Swapnil Tripathi case, that the SC had first accepted in principle the idea of live-streaming cases of public importance. On August 26, the proceedings before the ceremonial bench of CJI NV Ramana on his retirement day were live-streamted to the public. That remains so far the only instance of the court proceedings being live streamed. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant", the bench said while allowing live streaming of court proceedings. 

Live-streaming of court proceedings will translate "public right to know" and bring in more transparency in judicial proceedings, the court said. On July 9, the idea of live streaming of court proceedings in all matters, except in rape cases and matrimonial disputes, had found favour with the bench as well as Attorney General K. K. Venugopal.  The law student Swapnil Tripathi, who challenged the bar imposed on interns entering courtrooms on miscellaneous days. On August 3, CJI Misra had asked petitioner intern Swapnil Tripathi to submit guidelines to the Attorney General K K Venugopal regarding creation of a live streaming room in the apex court premises exclusively for law interns and law students. 

The Attorney General K. K. Venugopal had suggested that the live telecast of the apex court proceedings be done in only constitutional matters on an experimental basis. “The government is taking this very seriously. My recommendation is that (the live streaming of hearings) may be initially restricted to only cases involving constitutional issues, which the Chief Justice decides, and no other matters,  to see the reactions and the responses. Then a decision may be taken one way or the other”, the AG had submitted. He, had however, said it would not be practical to stream every case and guidelines may be laid to decide the important cases which can be telecast. Calling it the "need of the hour", the bench took note of the suggestions of Venugopal and asked the parties to give their suggestions to him for framing comprehensive guidelines which may be later approved by it.

"In India, we have an open court system till the court is converted into in-camera. Where there is an open court hearing, litigants are entitled to know the progress in their case. The concept of access to justice provides that though a litigant is not in court, they are able to know what is happening in their case in the court," the bench said.

It was of the view that barring few exceptions like hearings in a rape case, the courts are already open for all and allowing live streaming of the proceedings would further establish the settled principle.

"We have open courts in India. Once we have accepted the concept of an open court model, by extrapolating, we are only effectively extending the principle of an open court," the bench said. 

In another petition filed by Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, the Court had earlier observed that live streaming of court proceedings will help litigant instantaneously know what happened to his case and how his lawyer performed his case before the Court. 

Referring to the plea that such broadcast would help in disciplining the lawyers, the bench said, "each member of the Bar must train themselves to be disciplined ...We are not being critical of the Bar. We have come here from the Bar but, how many times do lawyers seek adjournment in cases would also be known to the clients." 

"A litigant is entitled to know as to how matters are dealt in the courts...," the bench said, adding "there has to be performance (by lawyers), neither over performance nor under-performance."

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

Related:

SC to live stream Constitution bench proceedings from today

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, SC opens itself to public viewing, live streaming begins

Proceedings in three constitution benches of the Indian Supreme Court were today opened to public viewing as proceedings were live streamed

Live Streaming

In a historic and long overdue move, three Constitution Bench hearings in the Supreme Court began with live streaming from Tuesday, September 27. The proceedings were watched by thousands of viewers on the the Supreme Court's own platform webcast.gov.in/scindia/

There constitution benches sat on Tuesday, presided by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul respectively. The CJI-led Constitution Bench is hearing the EWS quota case (pleas challenging the 103rd Constitution Amendment). Justice Chandrachud's bench heard the petitions related to the Shiv Sena party split and subsequent toppling of the Maharashtra government. Justice Kaul's bench heard the matter relating to the vailidity of the All India Bar Examination. 

It was four years ago, on September 26, 2018, the Supreme Court in the Swapnil Tripathi case, that the SC had first accepted in principle the idea of live-streaming cases of public importance. On August 26, the proceedings before the ceremonial bench of CJI NV Ramana on his retirement day were live-streamted to the public. That remains so far the only instance of the court proceedings being live streamed. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant", the bench said while allowing live streaming of court proceedings. 

Live-streaming of court proceedings will translate "public right to know" and bring in more transparency in judicial proceedings, the court said. On July 9, the idea of live streaming of court proceedings in all matters, except in rape cases and matrimonial disputes, had found favour with the bench as well as Attorney General K. K. Venugopal.  The law student Swapnil Tripathi, who challenged the bar imposed on interns entering courtrooms on miscellaneous days. On August 3, CJI Misra had asked petitioner intern Swapnil Tripathi to submit guidelines to the Attorney General K K Venugopal regarding creation of a live streaming room in the apex court premises exclusively for law interns and law students. 

The Attorney General K. K. Venugopal had suggested that the live telecast of the apex court proceedings be done in only constitutional matters on an experimental basis. “The government is taking this very seriously. My recommendation is that (the live streaming of hearings) may be initially restricted to only cases involving constitutional issues, which the Chief Justice decides, and no other matters,  to see the reactions and the responses. Then a decision may be taken one way or the other”, the AG had submitted. He, had however, said it would not be practical to stream every case and guidelines may be laid to decide the important cases which can be telecast. Calling it the "need of the hour", the bench took note of the suggestions of Venugopal and asked the parties to give their suggestions to him for framing comprehensive guidelines which may be later approved by it.

"In India, we have an open court system till the court is converted into in-camera. Where there is an open court hearing, litigants are entitled to know the progress in their case. The concept of access to justice provides that though a litigant is not in court, they are able to know what is happening in their case in the court," the bench said.

It was of the view that barring few exceptions like hearings in a rape case, the courts are already open for all and allowing live streaming of the proceedings would further establish the settled principle.

"We have open courts in India. Once we have accepted the concept of an open court model, by extrapolating, we are only effectively extending the principle of an open court," the bench said. 

In another petition filed by Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, the Court had earlier observed that live streaming of court proceedings will help litigant instantaneously know what happened to his case and how his lawyer performed his case before the Court. 

Referring to the plea that such broadcast would help in disciplining the lawyers, the bench said, "each member of the Bar must train themselves to be disciplined ...We are not being critical of the Bar. We have come here from the Bar but, how many times do lawyers seek adjournment in cases would also be known to the clients." 

"A litigant is entitled to know as to how matters are dealt in the courts...," the bench said, adding "there has to be performance (by lawyers), neither over performance nor under-performance."

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

Related:

SC to live stream Constitution bench proceedings from today

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