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~By Punit Mishra

India will soon have its own dedicated legal channel like in some other countries. Media reports have indicated that the law ministry is mulling its own television channel to broadcast discussions on key legal issues such as uniform civil code and triple talaq. The move could prove instrumental in India’s efforts to spread legal literacy.

While India is a late entrant in launching a dedicated legal channel as compared to many countries which have already launched separate legal channels on television as well as over the internet, the only silver lining is that the initiative is being taken by the Government of India, which adds credibility to it.

The channel will not restrict itself to only discussions on legal issues. It will also feature debates on important judgements in a bid to spread legal awareness, media reports indicated.

The media reports indicated that the law ministry has demanded an independent channel from the ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). The law ministry has already written to the HRD ministry seeking the operational rights for the legal channel.

While India is a late entrant in launching a dedicated legal channel as compared to many countries which have already launched separate legal channels on television as well as over the internet, the only silver lining is that the initiative is being taken by the Government of India, which adds credibility to it.

For content generation, the law ministry is planning to rope in renowned Bollywood directors to produce quality programmes on legal issues. Not only that, the reports indicated that the ministry will also run a contest for freelance film-makers and law school students. They will be eligible for the cash prizes of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 for five to 30-minutes films on legal issues.

A senior officer associated with the project was quoted as saying“The idea is to create a bank of enriched material on legal issues of India that can be best used by the common man.”

Initially, the channel will not operate 24×7. The channel will first broadcast programmes for a few hours every day. Once it accumulates enough content, the channel will beam programmes 24×7.

In December 2016, Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das advocated for a dedicated legal channel. Das while launching Legal Literacy Clubs in 500 government schools in Jharkhand had said that he would make a formal request for a dedicated legal TV channel from Centre soon.

With the launch of the legal channel by the law ministry, India will join the ranks of other countries which are operating 24×7 dedicated legal channels.

A TV grab of the America’s Court with Judge Ross
A TV grab of the America’s Court with Judge Ross

In the US, a TV channel called  Court TV  focuses on crime-themed programmes. Court TV featured legal dramas apart from documentaries on legal issues. It also covered prominent criminal cases. Just like it, Channels Television in Nigeria broadcasts shows on legal issues by featuring top legal experts in the country.

The website of Entertainment studios www.es.tv features America’s Court with Judge Ross, a court show starring former Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kevin A Ross presiding over dramatized small claims court cases.

Family Court with Judge Penny, an American arbitration-based reality court show is also highly popular show broadcasted by Pick TV featuring former judge and lawyer Penny Brown Reynolds.

Divorce Court, another American court show particularly takes up cases of couples going through divorces and tries to settle them.

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