Lockdown: Guj HC starts live streaming on trial basis

Lockdown: Gujarat High Court starts live streaming of its 'first court' on trial basis

The division bench, comprising chief justice Nath and justice J B Pardiwala, hear cases related to public interest litigations (PILs), special civil application challenging vires of act, statues, rules, land acquisition acts, service matters, among others.

In a first, the Gujarat High Court on Monday started on trial basis live streaming of its first court, a division bench, headed by chief justice Vikram Nath. The live proceeding was streamed on Youtube channel of the high court for the public at large.

The division bench, comprising chief justice Nath and justice J B Pardiwala, hear cases related to public interest litigations (PILs), special civil application challenging vires of act, statues, rules, land acquisition acts, service matters, among others.

A press statement mentioning an order passed by the chief justice stated, "in order to ascertain the feasibility and workability of the available options for the same, this is to direct that, court proceedings of the Division Bench No. 1 (First Court) of the High Court will be telecast live, purely on experimental basis, from today the 26th October, 2020 on Youtube, link of which would be available from the homepage of the website of the High Court."

It added that "Aspect of continuing with or adapting the modality of live court proceedings will be decided based on the outcome of this trial starting today and any other trial of any other modality that may be taken up in due course.”

The order cited the Supreme Court's order on a writ petition (1232 of 2017) where the apex court had directed for live streaming of court proceedings. Referring to the apex court it said, "In the Model Video Conferencing Rules as prescribed by the eCommittee of the Supreme Court of India, it has been provided that public will be allowed to view the Court hearing conducted through video conferencing."

The decision of the high court to go live also comes days after it passed an order on a PIL filed by Nirma Univesity's law student Pruthvirajsinh Zala seeking live streaming for media. After the pandemic broke down and court proceedings started virtually, a group of media persons had also filed an application before the court administration requesting access to such proceedings. Over the months, apart from advocates appearing for the both sides, the court has started allowing appearance of parties, victims, corpus during the video hearing for interaction.  

"With a view to effectuating and broadening the implementation of Open Court concept even during the virtual hearings of the Court, this High Court has already taken up on administrative side, to work out the modalities that can be adopted for giving access to anyone who wishes to watch the Court proceedings in live. Aspect of ensuring smooth functioning of the Benches and distraction free virtual hearing while making open such access, are being deliberated upon," the press release issued by the court stated.