Since the inception of the justice system, there has been a cloudy fog over court proceedings, a thick layer through which the general mass of public often can’t see clear. It is no new thing that the legal system of our country is tricky, & the Supreme Court hasn’t been too helpful either.
That was, however, until September 26, 2018, when the ruling committee of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar, and Justice DY Chandrachud, collectively declared that India’s Apex court will now allow live streaming, broadcasting and/or webcasting of court proceedings of cases of national importance.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, is how the bench concluded the session, implying that the decision will cast away a preeminent cloud of disbelief & confusion permeating the court verdicts.
The judgement came in a series of petitions, one of which was filed by Swapnil Tripathi, and another by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, with Jaising vouching for live streaming and webcast of cases of national and Constitutional importance.
With assistance from the Attorney General of India, KK Venugopal, the bench agreed to the petitioner’s proposals and submitted a set of guidelines for implementing the pilot project in the Chief Justice’s Court for Constitutional cases.
Venugopal’s guidelines suggested that the project first be implemented as a trial in the Supreme Court, following a certain set of pre-defined rules & regulations, & then be implemented in other courtrooms based on the success of the pilot project.
During hearing, the bench happened to remark that the decision was necessary for, not just decongesting the courtrooms, but also to fully justify the idea of an “open court”.
Justice CJ Mishra, while voicing his opinion, also stated that the judgements given by the judges should be recorded, for the benefit of the Indian public at large.
The issue of media misreporting leading to mass unrest during sensitive trials, was also touched upon during the hearing, & the Chief Justice gave a collective ruling considering all possible situations & circumstances.
We applaud this decision by India’s top judicial court & are confident that it will be helpful in dematerializing media created false information & would instill mass confidence in the justice system of the country.