Justice can now be seen to be done

The Supreme Court’s approval of live-streaming of its proceedings was expected because the court had made it known that it was in favour of it when the proposal was made some months ago. A three-judge bench of the court has given the green signal to the plan now, and it is going to be a reality soon. The court has said that it will make judicial proceedings transparent and bolster public confidence in the rule of law. Indian courts are open courts which are accessible to everyone. But most people are unable to watch court proceedings because of the limitations of space and other infrastructural difficulties. Lawyers, security personnel, reporters and parties to the cases that come up every day occupy most of the space that is available, leaving hardly any room for others. 

But technology has made it possible to make the proceedings available to everyone now. As Justice AM Khanwilkar said in his judgement, “it will result in the dissemination of information in the widest possible sense, imparting transparency and accountability to the judicial process’’. Justice, therefore, will not only be done but can literally be seen to be done. Citizens have the right to know what happens in courts and the court has said that this is derived from the fundamental rights. Most people do not know how the courts function. Live-streaming of the proceedings will help them understand better the working of the courts and the philosophy of constitutional law and rule and increase legal literacy. The conduct and performance of lawyers will be watched by the people and so they will have to act with care and responsibility. Many countries allow live streaming of court proceedings, though this is done in different ways. India has done well to join them. 

Attorney-General KK Venugopal had drawn up some guidelines on the implementation of the live-streaming proposal at the behest of the court. The court has laid down some conditions now on the basis of those guidelines. Cases that relate to matrimonial disputes and sexual offences against women and children and those that involve the privacy of individuals will not be open to live-streaming. Cases that involve national security will also not be live-streamed. The final decision on live-streaming a case will lie with the court. It is likely to start as a pilot project in the Supreme Court, with some cases of national and constitutional importance. The live-streaming should later be extended to high courts and lower courts, too, so that the entire judiciary comes closer to the people. It will give it greater credibility and strengthen the cause of justice further. 

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Justice can now be seen to be done

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