Supreme Court for Live Telecast of Court Proceedingsby Opinion Express September 28, 2018 0 comments
The Supreme Court of India has issued a directive to allow live telecast of court proceedings for greater transparency and accountability.
The Supreme Court’s green signal for live screening of court proceedings on a pilot basis starting with Public Interest Litigation (PIL) case hearings first on its own premises and subsequently, if all goes well, for all cases and in High Courts and trial courts as well, is an unprecedented triumph of transparency. The Indian judicial system must be complimented, on bended knee, for having evolved with time and its ability to continue doing so is an asset to our nation and its institutions.
It has for long been held that the legitimacy of the court, or for that matter any other pillar of democracy, rests primarily on public acceptance of their processes which while undoubtedly robust in theory must also be seen to be so. This, in turn, depends heavily on the fixing accountability and its concomitant notion of transparency. It is here that the concept of open courts if implemented properly can go a long way in reaffirming the trust reposed by citizens in the judiciary. It may also help save both time and money as well as speed up the entire judicial process. As it is, there are more than 3.3 crore cases pending in various Indian courts. While upholding transparency and making the people a party to the deliberations that take place inside the four walls of the courtroom, the apex court has been very mindful in taking care of one important caveat that such freedom entails. It has, in its order, very responsibly exercised caution in relation to matters that are most sensitive and private — matrimonial affairs, rape cases, those involving children and/or juveniles, among others. The Court held a decision on the telecast of the video feed whether live or otherwise would rest upon the presiding judge and prior consent of all parties would be required.
The idea of open court proceedings or live telecast/web streaming is neither new nor complicated. Several countries such as the UK, Canada and Germany have a long history of a commitment to this kind of a system. The top court’s judgement also pushes further the pronouncements made earlier to make a move towards digital courtrooms — in a major boost to the Government’s E-courts Mission Mode Project, the Court had ruled in April this year that it would go paperless and called for deliberations on fixing a mechanism for the digital filing of cases. As many as 14,249 courts are expected to benefit from the project. In March, the Supreme Court had called upon for the installation of CCTV cameras in lower courts in at least two districts of every State and Union Territory. We are well on the way to a transparent and accountable justice-delivery system. Thank you, Milords.
Writer & Courtesy: The Pioneer