For forging solidarity and overcoming the obstacle of distance technology is one of the greatest instruments. By live-streaming the court’s proceedings we hope it will perform this task effectively for the public interest. With transparency in process of court justice delivery, will strengthen the democracy of our country and will lead to the development of an informed citizenry.
SCENARIO IN INDIA
The Supreme Court recently decided to live stream the proceedings in crucial cases that will be heard. In 2018 the court in the Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India case said of opening court through live streaming it was considered as part of article 21, a right to access justice. Gujrat high court is the first court to Livestream the proceedings of the court and following it was the Karnataka high court. Currently in India Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts Livestream their proceedings. A set of guidelines were suggested that the court must follow to retain to withhold broadcasting. Live streaming will not be permitted in certain matters like:
- Matrimonial cases or personal matters
- Juvenile cases
- Matters that may provoke enmity among various groups or communities
- Matter of sexual assault
- Matters of national security
Special protection is required to be given to vulnerable witnesses they can be provided for face distortion facility. Courts must protect sensitive cases of personal information like sexual assault and rape. The cases which can lead to provocation in the general public must be protected.
This decision of live streaming proceedings will help people understand rule of law and that the judiciary is protecting the rights of the general public. It will lead to transparency in judicial decision making the decisions that will be taken by the court will be understood by the general public. We need to understand that law and justice must not be left to lawyers and judges alone with this step it will enable a supreme court to show a deep conviction. It will also lead to development and improvement in the stand of the legal profession and education. The lawyers themselves will not make any irresponsible or irrelevant remarks or statements since they will be watched. The process of justice delivery will be taken more seriously. Live streaming will overcome the obstacle of distance. The court has also approved the suggestion by A-G of allowing transcripts and archiving the proceedings. This was to empower the masses by strengthening the legal system
In article 19(1)(a) of the Indian constitution freedom of media is included and in article 21 right to the internet has been recognized. It has been observed that the internet had played an important role in various cases like the Jessica Lal case, the Delhi rape case, etc. social media had a significant effect in understanding the reaction and response of the general public. It has both advantages as well as disadvantages
- Effecting news spreading method
- Reaching news to mass users
- Smooth flow of news etc.
- Transparency in access to justice for the public
- Protection of fundamental rights
- Can cause public unrest
- The accused career gets destroyed
- Harmful for minors
- Ignorance of relevant facts etc.
- This may lead to demonizing judges
- The concern of justices behaving like politicians since they will be public exposure
The question arises is that if freedom of speech also includes in itself the freedom to report court proceedings. Court has held that every citizen has the right to know about the judicial proceedings, therefore, the freedom to report on court proceedings includes the freedom of speech but it has some limitations like protection of the identity of the victim, etc.
An e-committee of the supreme court is set up for drawing the (SOPs) standard operating procedure for live streaming. All the courts are made well equipped with the required microphones and speakers for easy listening o proceedings. Live streaming is done using the official YouTube channel of high courts like the high court of Karnataka official (with 1,70,000 subscribers), Gujarat high court live (with 1,15,000 subscribers), the high court of Orissa(with 29900 subscribers), etc.
Efforts are been made to have a national platform for live streaming for high courts and supreme courts
Considering all this we can conclude that live streaming and recording of the court proceeding is of public importance. It is considered that this step is to maintain the archives of proceedings of courts and help students understand and learn. Access to live feeds will also provide better news reporting with correct facts the news will be more precise and accurate even the citizens would be able to verify the information and news spread which will eventually reduce public unrest due to the wrong impression of information.
SCENARIO IN OTHER COUNTRIES
let us look at the scenario of other countries–
- In Australia live or delayed broadcasting is allowed.
- In Brazil live audio and video broadcasting of court proceedings including the voting process by judges is allowed since 2002
- In the USA audio recording and transcripts is allowed since the year 1955.
- Live streaming through cable parliamentary affairs channels is done in Canada to explain the case and the processes involved in it to the public.
- In the United Kingdom broadcasting of live proceedings is done with one minute delay after the year 2005.
- Since 2017 in South Africa broadcasting of court proceedings in criminal matters has been allowed considering it an extension of the right to freedom of the press.
In the step towards the improvement of the Indian judiciary broadcasting of court proceedings is one of them for having transparency. The citizens of India are granted the right to technology and the right to information so that matters which are of national importance can be made available for public viewership at large. Live streaming or the recording of the proceedings can be provided. The court must frame certain laws and punishments for indulging in any sort of malpractice in this process. One thing to be noted is that this process should be done with no commercial purpose proper description subtitles and titles must be provided so that misleading happens and accurate information is conveyed.
Author(s) Name: Jigyasa Ojha (Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College Pune)