Live telecast of SC much-needed step

supreme court

The Supreme Court’s support for live telecast of court proceedings is welcome, and the first court channel may be set up and launched soon. The central government has proposed a channel similar to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha channels, with streaming of the court of the Chief Justice of India on an experimental basis first and then extending it to other courts. The court has told the government, through Attorney-General K K Venugopal, to prepare the necessary guidelines and asked other parties to make suggestions. It also wants a blueprint of the plan, including the cost and details of the technology, to be prepared. The court’s initiative is on the basis of a recent petition by noted lawyer Indira Jaising which sought live telecast of court proceedings in cases which have constitutional and national importance. Courts are even now open to everybody, but many people are unable to watch the proceedings for various reasons. A television channel introduces technology to make the proceedings available to all those who want to watch them. 

The telecast will make the court’s proceedings more transparent and further strengthen its credibility. The court has accepted that the litigants and even others have a right to know what happens in the court. Open proceedings will ensure that justice is not only done but is literally seen to be done. Many litigants from far off places and others who have an interest in particular cases will be able to watch from their homes how the cases are argued and handled in courts. Many people do not know how the courts function. The telecast will help to increase legal literacy and awareness of judicial matters. Students of law will especially benefit from watching the proceedings. Lawyers will need to conduct themselves with greater care and responsibility because they will be under watch by their clients and the public. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has said that the telecast will help to inculcate better discipline among lawyers, and that will benefit their clients.  

The details and conditions that go with the proposal will now have to be finalised. Trials and hearings in sensitive cases, like those involving national security, privacy of individuals, family matters and crimes like sexual attacks on women, cannot be telecast for public viewing. A time lag in telecast may be required in some cases. A study of the working of court telecasts in countries such as the UK may help to get a clear idea of these issues. There are other challenges, too. The coverage of over 10 court rooms will be more difficult and complicated than the telecast from two Houses of parliament. Still, the move should be pursued with earnest and court proceedings must soon be available for everyone to watch. 

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Live telecast of SC much-needed step

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