LIVE STREAMING OF SC PROCEEDINGS
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- The Supreme Court of India has decided to live stream its proceedings in important Constitution Bench cases.
Present status of live streaming of judicial proceedings in India
- In 2018, a Supreme Court bench had agreed to hear a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) aspiring live streaming of judicial proceedings on important matters of constitutional and national importance.
- The Supreme Court approved a set of guidelines and also did not allow live streaming in the cases involving:
- Matrimonial matters.
- Matters involving juveniles or the protection and safety of the private life of young offenders.
- Matters of National security.
- To ensure that victims, witnesses or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear. Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
- It may provide for face distortion of the witness if she/he consents to the broadcast anonymously.
- To protect confidential or sensitive information, including all matters relating to sexual assault and rape.
- Cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.
- Currently, the Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts live stream their proceedings.
Live streaming of judicial proceedings around the Globe
- In USA: The US Supreme Court has rejected appeals for broadcast of its proceedings, but since 1955 allowed audio recording of oral arguments.
- In Australia: Live or delayed broadcasting is allowed but the practices differ across courts.
- In Brazil: Since 2002, live video and audio broadcast of court proceedings is allowed.
- In Canada: Court Proceedings are broadcast live on Parliamentary Affairs Channel.
- In United Kingdom: Court Proceedings are broadcast live with a one-minute delay on the court’s website, but coverage can be withdrawn in sensitive appeals.
Significance of the step
- Broadcasting court proceedings will ensure transparency and greater access to the justice system.
- Citizens have a right to know what arguments are made and the responses of the judges as their judgements bind us all.
- The principle "justice should not only be done but seen to be done".
- Live Steaming would empower, and provide access to citizens who cannot personally come to court due to social, economic, health, or physical disability-related limitations.
- It would enable citizens to have first-hand information on case proceedings on issues of constitutional importance that affect them directly or indirectly.
- The individuality of judges is more likely to become a subject of public debate through live-streaming, creating problems of its own.
- Lawyers aspiring to publicize themselves through their addresses to the Bench.
- It will affect the normalcy of the proceedings.
- Video clips of court proceedings are already on social media platforms with sensational titles and little context, such as “HIGH COURT super angry on IAS/IPS officer”. This irresponsible use of content could spread disinformation among citizens.
- Live streaming is neither required in all types of matters nor in all courts.
- Live streaming or videography could be avoided in the matters which have a privacy dimension, such as family matters or criminal matters.
- Any Kind of Misuse of court proceedings video must be dealt with strict law and also need to formulate guidelines to promote the positive impact while curbing the negative one.