In a first, three separate Constitution Bench proceedings in the Supreme Court were simultaneously beamed live through YouTube on Tuesday.
"Statistics show that more than eight lakh viewers watched the proceedings before the three Constitution Benches. Truly, a historic day," the court's Public Relations Office said in a statement.
The Constitution Benches were led by Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, respectively.
Justice Chandrachud, who is the chairperson of the court's e-committee and the driving force behind the livestreaming project, began the hearing in his courtroom with an announcement that "we are virtual".
The livestreaming was closely monitored by technical support teams of the court. There was not a single interruption in the telecast the whole day.
"This step will go a long way in overcoming the barriers of distance and provide to citizens from every nook and corner of the country an opportunity to watch the Supreme Court proceedings. This is a humble beginning. Attempts will now be made to livestream proceedings in all important matters before it becomes the order of the day," the statement assured.
The cases being heard included the challenge to the 10% quota for economically weaker sections of the society before the Chief Justice's Constitution Bench.
Justice Chandrachud's Bench heard the spat between Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's faction and the Uddhav Thackeray camp over who was the "real" Shiv Sena party.
Justice Kaul's Constitution Bench began by hearing the challenge to the All India Bar Examination - a post-enrollment exam for lawyers.
A Full Court meeting of apex court judges on September 20 had resolved to livestream Constitution Bench hearings from September 27.
Supreme Court is likely to use a dedicated platform for live-streaming the hearings in the long-term.
The trigger came with a recent letter from senior advocate Indira Jaising to livestream important case hearings, especially those being heard by Constitution Benches.
Swapnil Tripathi judgment
Livestreaming has become a reality nearly four years after the court's Swapnil Tripathi judgment of September 2018. The judgment had upheld the plea for livestreaming of its proceedings.
In that judgment, the court had said livestreaming would “virtually” expand the court beyond the four walls of the courtroom.
“Livestreaming of court proceedings has the potential of throwing up an option to the public to witness live court proceedings which they otherwise could not have due to logistical issues and infrastructural restrictions,” the court had said.
Justice Chandrachud, who was on the Bench, had observed that livestreaming of proceedings would be the true realisation of the “open court system” in which courts were accessible to all.
The court had laid down several conditions in the 2018 judgment, mostly in consonance with those handed over by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.
(The proceedings can be accessed at webcast.gov.in/scindia/)