SC allows live streaming of court proceedings

SC allows live streaming of court proceedings

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed live-streaming of its proceedings in cases of constitutional and national importance, saying this would be like "sunlight" which is the "best disinfectant".

The court directed for framing of rules in this regard. It enumerated the benefits of live streaming saying it would effectuate right to know, serve as educational purpose, remove physical barrier and ensure judicial accountability and add transparency, among others.

In a major decision, a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said only a specified category of cases of constitutional or national importance being argued before a Constitution bench, should be live streamed on a pilot project.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, in two different but concurring judgements, said “we hold that the cause brought before this court by the protagonists in larger public interest, deserves acceptance so as to uphold the constitutional rights of public and the litigants in particular.

“Above all, sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Justice Chandrachud, writing a separate concurring verdict, said.

The petitions in this regard were filed by law student Swapnil Tripathi, senior advocate Indira Jaising and advocate Mathews J Nedumpara.

He said live streaming would be “an extension of the principle of open courts will ensure that the interface between a court hearing with virtual reality will result in the dissemination of information in the widest possible sense, imparting transparency and accountability to the judicial process".

Justice Khanwilkar, who wrote the judgement for the CJI and himself, said the decision would strive to balance the various interests regarding administration of justice, including open justice, dignity and privacy of the participants to the proceedings and the majesty and decorum of the courts.

The court, however, said that sensitive cases such as those dealing with matrimonial disputes or sexual assault should not be live streamed.

The live court proceedings with 10 minutes delay would be allowed on a written request, the court said.

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