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Live streaming of court proceedings

  Aug 01, 2020

Live streaming of court proceedings

Why in news?

In September 2018, the Supreme Court allowed live streaming of certain cases of constitutional or national importance. The Court formulated certain model guidelines for the live-stream. 

What kind of cases can be live streamed according to the guidelines?

-Only a specified category of cases or cases of constitutional and national importance being argued for final hearing before the Constitution Bench may be live streamed as a pilot project.

-Sensitive cases like matrimonial disputes or sexual assault case shall not be streamed live. Further, the Court may live-stream oath-taking ceremonies or judicial conferences.  

Where can we access the live streams of these cases?

The live-stream shall be available on the website of the Supreme Court. The Court shall also maintain archives of all the proceedings streamed live. 

What more details these guidelines dovetail?

There shall be a time gap of two minutes between the proceedings and the streaming. This will allow time for screening sensitive information or any other exchange which should not be streamed. 

Prior consent of all parties to the concerned proceedings must be taken before streaming the proceedings. If there is no unanimity between the parties, the Court can decide whether to broadcast the proceedings.

 The presiding judge will have the final authority to suspend or prohibit live-streaming of a particular case, if he believes the publicity would prejudice the interest of justice.

The Supreme Court shall have exclusive copyright over all the material recorded and broadcast in the Court.

What will the benefits be accruing from such a move? 

A live stream would help litigants follow the proceedings in their case and also assess their lawyers’ performance. People from far-flung States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala do not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.

It would keep a check on lawyers’ conduct inside the courtrooms. With the entire country watching them, there would be fewer interruptions, raised voices and adjournments from the lawyers.

 Live-streaming will bring transparency and access to justice. 

 What will the impact of such broadcasting?