The High Court of Gujarat, while hearing a petition seeking public access to virtual court hearings observed, that “the right to know and receive information is one of the facets of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason, the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings involving the issue having an impact on the public at large or a section of the public, as the case may be.”
The division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing a petition filed by a third year law student of Nirma University, Pruthvirajsinh Zala, seeking interim relief of open-public access to the virtual hearings of the High Court of Gujarat and framing of necessary rules thereof.
The bench observed: “To observe the requirement of an open Court proceedings, the members of the public should be allowed to view the Court hearings conducted through the video conferencing, except the proceedings ordered for the reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera.”
The bench further informed the petitioner that the High Court of Gujarat on its administrative side has taken up the issue and for the purpose of working out the modalities to facilitate the people at large including the media to watch the virtual hearing, a Committee of two Judges of the High Court has been constituted pursuant to the decision taken by the Standing Committee in its meeting held on 25th June 2020.
The Court further said that the Committee is working on the modalities and would be placing its report in the near future. Once the report is received, further action to allow access to the public at large including the media persons of print digital and electronic media shall be finalized.
– India Legal Bureau