Supreme Court proceedings to go live soon
Ahmedabad, July 17: Live streaming of court proceedings will remove misconceptions about the justice delivery system and the Supreme Court is keen to make the facility available from at least some of its courts, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said here on Saturday.
He was speaking after inaugurating the live streaming facility -- which makes it possible to watch court proceedings online -- at the Gujarat High Court.
The CJI, however, cautioned judges to not get deterred from their duty to protect the "right of one against the might of many" in the face of "increased public gaze" which they may face due to live streaming.
'Even after 74 years of Independence, multiple incorrect notions still prevail in the minds of the public regarding the justice delivery system. It is high time for demystifying the justice delivery system in the country and furthering access to open courts.
'Access to justice will become a true reality when litigants and interested parties get to witness, understand and comprehend justice dispensation first-hand," Justice Ramana said.
Live streaming of court proceedings was a "step in the right direction' but one must tread on this path with caution, he added.
"At times live streaming of proceedings may become a double-edged sword.... judges might feel the presence of public scrutiny which may ultimately result in a stressful environment that may not be conducive to justice dispensation," he said.
With increased public gaze, judges might become 'a subject of multiple debates', the CJI said.
'This should never deter him (a judge) from his duty to protect the right of one against the might of many,' he added.
The right to know as bestowed under the Constitution also includes the knowledge of the institutions that concern people, and one way to promote it is to allow people access to watching the proceedings of the courts, Justice Ramana said.
The courts in India have traditionally been open to all, but 'the harshest realities of poverty, social inequality, lack of awareness, cost, distance made it difficult for some of the population to actively attend court proceedings," he observed.
'We are keen to start live (streaming of) proceedings in at least some of the courts of the Supreme Court. We are working out the logistics and working on the consensus of the full court. With the aid of modern technologies, I am given to understand that we can introduce the live streaming future in a cost-effective manner without imposing much burden on the exchequer," he said.
Live streaming will also resolve the issue of "misconceptions" that emerge due to "transmission loss" caused by the media, the CJI said.
Such 'transmission loss' causes "misinterpretation of questions asked and observations made by the bench due to the absence of context" and "vested interests are eager to amplify this misinterpretation in order to embarrass the institutions', he said.
He also cautioned lawyers against seeking publicity from live streaming, saying they must protect their clients' interest and uphold the dignity of the profession.
'Privacy of the parties involved must also be taken into consideration, so as to ensure safety and security of the victims and witnesses,' Justice Ramana said, adding that for this the rules of live streaming must be calibrated' carefully.
A committee headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud 'is playing a wonderful role and bringing all the courts on board to unleash the transparency revolution with the aid of modern technology," he said.
The CJI also unveiled the Gujarat High Court Live Streaming of Court Proceeding Rules, 2021' on the occasion.