Allow live streaming of court proceedings: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the live streaming of its proceedings, saying the move will bring “transparency and accountability” to the judicial process and was manifestly in the “public interest”.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that a pilot project may initially be taken up for about three months by live streaming only cases of national and constitutional importance from Court Number 1 presided over by the Chief Justice.

“Progressively, as and when the infrastructure is ready, this court can expand the ambit of live streaming to cover all cases (except for the ones which are excluded),” Justice Chandrachud said in a separate but concurring judgment.

The court said that live streaming was important to “re-emphasise” the significance of live streaming as an extension of the principle of open justice and open courts. However, the process of live streaming should be subjected to carefully structured guidelines, the bench added.

Justice Khanwilkar, also speaking for Chief Justice Misra, said: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Live streaming as an extension of the principle of open courts will ensure that the interface between a court hearing with virtual reality will result in the dissemination of information in the widest possible sense, imparting transparency and accountability to the judicial process.”

Not all cases may be live streamed, said the court, adding that certain sensitive cases like matrimonial or sexual assault cases, matters where children and juveniles are involved, like Protection of Children from Sexual Offences cases, should be excluded.

Live streaming will be carried out with minimal delay to allow time for screening sensitive information or any exchange that ought not to be streamed, the judgment added.

“The copyright over all the material recorded and broadcast in this court shall vest with this court only and the recordings and broadcast may not be used by anyone for commercial purposes. Archives shall be maintained of all live streamings, to be hosted on the court website.”

The bench said that live streaming of proceedings is crucial to the dissemination of knowledge about judicial proceedings and granting full access to justice to the litigant.

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