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Sunlight is the best disinfectant, live streaming of court proceedings will bring transparency, rules Supreme Court while directing government to frame rules

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday (September 26), allowed live-streaming of proceedings in cases of constitutional importance and public interest that are heard in the court of the Chief Justice of India.

The apex court ruled that such an exercise will enhance transparency and allow common citizens and litigants who cannot be present in the courtroom to know, in real time, the exact developments that have taken place in cases of public interest.

The verdict by a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud came on two separate petitions, one filed by senior advocate Indira jaising and the other by a law intern, Swapnil Tripathi.

Jaising had sought live streaming of cases of national and constitutional importance that are heard in the court of the Chief Justice of India or by a Constitution Bench. Tripathi on the other hand had challenged the bar imposed on law interns entering court rooms on miscellaneous days.

The bench had asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist the court in deciding on the petitions. It had also directed Tripathi to submit suggestions to the Attorney General regarding creation of a live-streaming room in the apex court premises exclusively for law interns and law students.

On Wednesday, the bench gave two concurring verdicts, written by Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud respectively which allowed live streaming of the proceedings as demanded by the petitioners and directed the centre to frame necessary rules for the purpose.

It may be recalled that during the proceedings in the case, Attorney General KK Venugopal had informed the court that the Centre was in favour of live streaming of case proceedings except in cases related to rape, matrimonial disputes and those that concern sensitive issues that could adversely impact the parties in a case. Venugopal had also submitted a set of guidelines for implementing the pilot project in the Chief Justice’s Court for Constitutional cases.

During the course of the hearing, the Bench had agreed with the petitioners, stating at one point that live streaming “was the need of the hour” not only for decongesting the courtrooms, but also to fully implement the idea of an “open court”.

The issue of misreporting of court proceedings by the media had also been highlighted by the bench, particularly by Justice Chandrachud, who on Wednesday said in his concurring verdict that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” and live-streaming would help in ensuring transparency.


— India Legal Bureau

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