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GUJARAT HIGH COURT THE FIRST TO LIVE STREAM PROCEEDINGS


Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

  • In a landmark initiative, the Gujarat High Court became the first to live stream judicial proceedings on YouTube channel.
  • Though it’s on “experimental basis”, the move is being seen as a major measure towards transparency in judicial proceedings.
  • The YouTube link is available on the homepage of the High Court and has been welcomed by lawyers, law students and the public at large besides litigants.

Background

  • All the Courts have been functioning through video conferencing throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and even after that.
  • Advocates, the parties, victims, corpses etc. all are participating in the court proceedings during the course of the hearing through video conferencing.
  • Also, in the model video conferencing rules as prescribed by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, it has been provided that the public will be allowed to view the hearing conducted through video conferencing.
  • The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India (2018) has ruled in favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
  • It held that the live streaming proceedings is part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • However, the judgment has remained unimplemented.
  • The e-Court Mission Mode Project was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

Benefits

  • A live stream would help litigants follow the proceedings in their case and also assess their lawyers’ performance. People from far-flung States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala do not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.
  • It would keep a check on lawyers’ conduct inside the courtrooms. With the entire country watching them, there would be fewer interruptions, raised voices and adjournments from the lawyers.
  • Live-streaming will bring transparency and access to justice.

Issues Involved

  • The live streaming of the Courts is susceptible to abuses.
  • It can involve national security concerns and can amount to a violation of the fundamental right to privacy in matrimonial disputes and rape cases.
  • The unauthorized reproduction of the live streaming videos is another cause for concern as its regulation will be very difficult at the government’s end.
  • Concerns have also been raised about the commercial aspect of the whole issue. The agreements with broadcasters should be on a non-commercial basis. No one should profit from the arrangement.
  • Infrastructure, specially internet connectivity is also the biggest challenge in implementing the live proceedings of Courts.

-Source: The Hindu

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