An Alive Stream II

Indubitably, Live Streaming 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 of Courts; and would also provide them with a more direct sense of what has transpired. Thus, technological solutions can be a tool to facilitate actualization of the right of access to justice bestowed on all and the litigants in particular, to provide them virtual entry in the Court precincts and more particularly in Courtrooms. In the process, a large segment of persons, be it entrants in the legal profession, journalists, civil society activists, academicians or students of law will be able to view Live Proceedings in propria persona on real time basis. There is unanimity between all the protagonists that Live Streaming of Supreme Court Proceedings at least in respect of cases of Constitutional and National Importance, having an impact on the public at large or on a large number of people in India, may be a good beginning, as is suggested across the Bar.

This Court cannot be oblivious to the reality that technology has the potential usher in tangible and intangible benefits which can consummate the aspirations of the stakeholders and litigants in particular. It can epitomize transparency, good governance and accountability, and more importantly, open the vista of the Court rooms, transcending the four walls of the rooms to accommodate a large number of viewers to witness the Live Court Proceedings. Introducing and integrating such technology into the Court rooms would give the viewing public a virtual presence in the Courtroom and also educate them about the working of the Court.

The project of Live Streaming of the Court Proceedings of the Supreme Court on the ‘internet’ and/or on radio and TV through live audio-visual broadcasting/telecasting universally by an official agency, such as Doordarshan, having exclusive telecasting rights and/or official website/mobile application of the Court, must be implemented in a progressive, structured and phased manner, with certain safeguards to ensure that the purpose of Live Streaming of Proceedings is achieved holistically and that it does not interfere with the administration of justice or the dignity and majesty of the Court hearing the matter and/or impinge upon any rights of the litigants or witnesses.

Until a full-fledged module and mechanism for Live Streaming of the Court Proceedings of the Supreme Court over the ‘internet’ is evolved, it would be open to explore the possibility of implementation of Phase-I of Live Streaming in designated areas.

In conclusion, we hold that the cause brought before this Court by the protagonists in larger public interest, deserves acceptance so as to uphold the Constitutional Rights of public and the litigants, in particular. In recognizing that Court Proceedings ought to be Live Streamed, this Court is mindful of and has strived to balance the various interests regarding administration of justice, including open justice, dignity and privacy of the participants to the Proceedings and the majesty and decorum of the Courts.

As a result, we hope that the relevant rules will be formulated expeditiously and the First Phase Project shall be executed in right earnest by all concerned.”

Hon’ble Justice A.M. KhanwilkarIndira Jaising v. Secretary General, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 66 of 2018].