Draft Rules for live-streaming, recording of court proceedings out

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

Draft Rules released by the Supreme Court e-Committee on Monday for live-streaming and recording court proceedings propose a 10-minute delay in transmission and exclusion of communally sensitive cases and matters that involve sexual offences and gender violence against women.

The Rules are part of the National Policy and Action Plan for implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the judiciary.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana recently said the process to make live stream a reality was actively under consideration.

Now, the Supreme Court has invited inputs and feedback on the ‘Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings’. The Rules would cover live-streaming and recording of proceedings in High Courts, lower courts and tribunals.

Letter to CJs

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who heads the Supreme Court e-Committee, had written to the Chief Justices of the High Courts for their feedback on the draft Rules.

A sub-committee consisting of judges of the Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Karnataka High Courts was constituted to frame the model draft Rules.

In his letter, Justice Chandrachud said the right of access to justice, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, “encompasses the right to access live court proceedings”.

The Rules intend to balance between access to information and concerns of privacy and confidentiality.

Matrimonial matters, cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act would also be exempted from livestream. The Bench can exempt, for reasons recorded in writing, any case it considers antithetical to the administration of justice.

Cameras would be positioned to cover five angles; the Bench, lawyers on both sides, accused and witnesses.

A remote control device would be provided to the presiding judge on the Bench to pause or stop the livestream at any time.

“The final decision as to whether or not to allow the live-streaming of the proceedings or any portion thereof will be of the Bench, however, the decision of the Bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent judicial process,” the Rules said.

No personal information

Personal information such as date of birth of parties, home address, identity card number, bank account information, and the personal information of related parties, such as close relatives, witnesses and other participants, will be deleted or muted during live-streaming.

The content of the recording would be vetted and posted, usually within three days of the conclusion of the proceedings. The content would be posted on the court website or made available on digital platforms authorised by the court.

“No person/entity (including print and electronic media, and social media platforms) other than an authorised person/entity shall record, share and/or disseminate live-streamed proceedings or archival data,” the Rules proposed.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 9:40:23 PM |

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