SC seeks A-G's opinion on a plea to live-stream Constitution Bench proceedings

Indira Jaising sought direct telecast of nationally important cases before the Constitution Bench

Updated - November 28, 2021 08:12 am IST

Published - February 09, 2018 10:06 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

The Supreme Court on Friday asked for the assistance of the Attorney-General on a plea to live-stream proceedings of the Constitution Bench in nationally important cases, such as those on Aadhaar and decriminalisation of gay sex, in the Supreme Court.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decided to seek K.K. Venugopal’s opinion on a petition filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising in her personal capacity.

International norms

Ms. Jaising said courts around the world allowed their proceedings to be recorded, though they differed in their ways.

She said some judges in the constitutional court in India had historically been reluctant about the idea of recording court proceedings because it would “capture every sentence” in the banter between judges and lawyers which were merely a way to elicit responses and not a sign of how the judge would finally decide the case.

Ms. Jaising, however, said there were different methods to resolve such reluctance and listed the means adopted by courts globally.

“Some courts allow publication after a gap of 30 minutes, some ban recording of proceedings only in trial courts as that would compromise witnesses, some give edited versions of the proceedings, some record the proceedings but do not air it in public, some give out transcripts of proceedings,” Ms. Jaising said.

She said such apprehensions should not create a roadblock in the public’s right to information.

The Supreme Court, in a bid to usher in transparency, had earlier allowed the installation of CCTV video recording with audio in trial courts and tribunals.

Citizen’s right to know

Ms. Jaising said citizens have the right to information and matters of constitutional and national importance can be live-streamed. If live streaming of top court's proceedings is not possible, then alternately the video recording should be allowed, she had argued.

"This Writ Petition is filed as Pro Bono for enforcement of public interest, to advance the rule of law and bring accessibility and transparency in the administration of justice," her plea said.

"The petitioner submits that the live streaming and videography of the proceedings of the Supreme Court in matters of great public importance will be in keeping with the principle of open access to justice and will ensure justice is not only done but it is seen to be done," Ms. Jaising’s petition said.

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