Live streaming of court proceedings
● The Supreme Court released draft rules for the live streaming of court proceedings. The rules would cover live streaming and recording of proceedings in High Courts, lower courts and tribunals.
● The rules are part of the National Policy and Action Plan for the implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the judiciary.
The draft rules for live streaming of Court proceedings were recently released. Critically examine the need for live streaming of Court proceedings
Draft rules for live streaming:
● Personal information of parties, witnesses and other participants will be deleted or muted during the live streaming.
● A 10-minute delay in the transmission and exclusion of communally sensitive cases and matters that involvesexual offences and gender violence against women.
● Matrimonial matters, cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act would also be exempted from the live stream.
● The Bench can exempt, for reasons recorded in writing, any case from a live stream it considers antithetical to the administration of justice.
● Only authorized persons or entities would record, share or disseminate live-streamed proceedings or the archival data.
Benefits of live streaming of court proceedings:
● Provides direct information to the people and demystify justice delivery mechanism
● Live streaming will help curb misinformation and misinterpretationabout the justice system reducing the likelihood of fake news
● Court proceedings have a great educational value and will help law students, lawyers, researchers and policymakers learn from Courts across the country.
Concerns regarding live streaming of court proceedings:
● It will increase the public gaze on the judges who may feel public pressure and the weight of popular opinion while deciding on cases.
● Lawyers can use live streams for publicity purposes and theatrics rather than defending the interests of their clients.
● Privacy and security of victims may be endangered due to the live stream and can lead to harassment of victims.
A representative democracy can only survive on the backs of its informed citizenry. The draft rules for live streaming of Court proceedings are a step in the right direction towards greater transparency in the justice system.