Live streaming of court proceedings: SC says CJI to take a call

Topics Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Tuesday said the issue related to implementation of its 2018 verdict allowing live streaming of court proceedings of cases of constitutional and national importance has to be dealt with by the Chief Justice of India on the administrative side.

While refusing to pass any judicial order on the issue, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it would be appropriate for the CJI to deal with the issue on the administrative side.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, appearing for the Secretary General of the apex court, informed the bench that the process of implementing the 2018 verdict has already started.

Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and M R Shah, that the Secretary General has started the process of installing infrastructure for live streaming.

"There cannot be any command on the administrative side of the Supreme Court. The CJI has to take a call on the administrative side on this issue," the bench said, adding, "Can we issue a command to the parliament to frame this or that law? Let the matter be examined on the administrative side by the CJI".

The top court had in 2018 delivered a verdict allowing the live-streaming of court proceedings of cases of constitutional and national importance, saying this openness would be like "sunlight" which is the "best disinfectant".

It had said as a pilot project, only a specified category of cases, which are of constitutional or national importance and are being argued before a constitution bench, should be allowed for live-streaming.

The apex court had said sensitive cases such as those concerning matrimonial disputes or sexual assault should not be live-streamed.

It had said for live-streaming of proceedings, the permission of the concerned court will have to be sought in writing, in advance, in conformity with the prescribed procedure.

It, however, had added that "the concerned court would retain its power to revoke the permission at any stage of the proceedings suo motu (on its own) or on an application filed by any party to the proceeding, if the situation so warrants".

It had said till a full-fledged module and mechanism for live-streaming of the court proceedings of the apex court over the internet is evolved, the first phase of live streaming would start from designated areas in the top court.

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