In September last year, the Supreme Court allowed the live streaming of important cases that are being heard by the apex court.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, after hearing a batch of petitions filed by various 'public spirited' citizens, including senior advocate Indira Jaising allowed the live streaming of cases of "constitutional and national importance having an impact on the public".
In its 106-page long judgment (full text at the end of this article), the apex court detailed examples of various other countries that allow live streaming of its judicial proceedings and observed, "It is important to re-emphasise the significance of live streaming as an extension of the principle of open justice and open courts. Live streaming of proceedings is crucial to the dissemination of knowledge about judicial proceedings and granting full access to justice to the litigant."
It added, "Access to justice can never be complete without the litigant being able to see, hear and understand the course of proceedings first-hand. Apart from this, live streaming is an important facet of a responsive judiciary that accepts and acknowledges that it is accountable to the concerns of those who seek justice. Live streaming is a significant instrument of establishing the accountability of other stake-holders in the justicing process, including the Bar. Moreover, the government as the largest litigant has to shoulder the responsibility for the efficiency of the judicial process. Full dissemination of knowledge and information about court proceedings through live-streaming thus subserves diverse interests of stake holders and of society in the proper administration of justice."
Now, as the Supreme Court readies itself to hear Independent India’s oldest land dispute case that has a huge political and social ramifications, an appeal has been made to allow the live streaming of the case in the interest of ensuring more "transparency and accountability" in the judicial process.
RSS leader KN Govindacharya had moved the Supreme Court with a plea for live streaming of the Ayodhya land dispute case proceedings, where daily arguments will be heard from 6 August by a five-judge constitution bench.
Prominent countries that allows live-streaming of their judicial proceedings:
The Canadian Supreme Court is considered a pioneer for adapting itself to technology and permitting audio-visual broadcasting of its proceedings. In 1993, the Canadian Supreme Court conducted a successful pilot project, live televising the hearings of three high profile cases.
The Supreme Court of UK permits broadcasting of its courtroom proceedings. The Eighth Practice Direction of the Supreme Court permits “video footage of proceedings before the Court to be broadcast where this does not affect the administration of justice”. Three national broadcasters — BBC, ITN, and Sky News are permitted to film and broadcast the Supreme Court proceedings, “in accordance with the protocol which has been agreed with".
Australia follows an open court system, with courts in all Australian jurisdictions admitting television cameras into courtrooms. Since 2013, audio-visual recordings of the High Court of Australia have been made available to the public. The entire process of filming and broadcasting is carried out by the Court staff. Transcripts of the hearings are made available within a day or two of most hearings.
New Zealand allows wide access to the media in courts and has one of the most progressive live broadcast policies among common law countries. New Zealand permits media houses to broadcast court proceedings with the approval of the court. The broadcast is governed by a set of guidelines which balance the principle of open justice with the need for a fair trial.
The US Supreme Court does not permit video recording or photography of its proceedings. It releases audio transcripts of the oral arguments on the same day. Audio recordings of each week’s oral arguments are released on the court’s website at the end of the week.
In 2002, the President of Brazil sanctioned a law enabling the creation of a public television channel dedicated to the judiciary and to the Supreme Court. The court sessions of the Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) are broadcast online on either TV Justica’ or Radio Justica and operated by the Supreme Court. Aside from being aired on television and radio, the proceedings can also be streamed online as the Court maintains a Twitter account and a YouTube channel. The unique feature of the Brazilian Supreme Court is that cameras are permitted into the conferences where the judges deliberate.
International courts have also embraced the idea of broadcasting their court proceedings. The International Criminal Court (ICC) permits televising of its cases, although with a thirty minute delay. The ICC has a YouTube channel where it broadcasts case proceedings, press conferences, and informative videos in different languages. In the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR), all hearings are permitted to be made public, unless specifically disallowed by the Court. The broadcast is available on the Court’s website on the same day. Broadcast of morning sessions is put up by the afternoon, and the afternoon sessions by evening. The ECHR states that all hearings are filmed and broadcast of the court’s website on the day itself, from 14:30 (local time) onwards.
Updated Date: Aug 05, 2019 13:10:05 IST