WRITTEN BY: MS. KAJAL KUKREJA, LL.B, FINAL YEAR STUDENT AT NEW LAW COLLEGE, BHARATI VIDYAPEETH DEEMED UNIVERSITY & RESEARCH WRITER AT LAW AUDIENCE:
CASE NAME: SWAPNIL TRIPATHI V. SUPREME COURT OF INDIA WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1232 OF 2017.
COURT: SUPREME COURT OF INDIA.
DATE OF JUDGEMENT: SEPTEMBER 26, 2018.
This case is related to the “Live Streaming of Court Proceedings”. This case was filed by petitioners i.e. five law students and all of them appeared as parties-in-person. In this case the Court said that Live-streaming of Court proceedings will effectuate the “public right to know” and bring in more transparency in the proceedings of the Court. On July 9, the Court had found favour in the idea of live streaming of Court proceedings in all the matters except matrimonial disputes and rape cases.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court was entertaining the following petitions on the issue of live-streaming of Court proceedings namely,
- Petition filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising;
- Petition filed by law student Swapnil Tripathi;
- Petition filed by NGO ‘Centre For Accountability and Systemic Change’ on the issue.
Indira Jaising, in her PIL, had sought video-recording of proceedings on matters of national importance. But, however, Indira Jaising stressed the need to include safeguards to prohibit unlawful reproduction of broadcasts. During the proceedings, the counsel of the NGO had suggested that instead of forming a TV Channel or live streaming, the proceedings should be video recorded and hosted on the official website of the apex Court. The apex Court had earlier termed the proposal of live streaming of the Court proceedings as the “need of the hour”.
In this case Swapnil was one of the first petitioners and during his internship with Advocate Rishabh Sancheti the idea of approaching the Court came in his mind. The petitioners and interventionists, claiming to be public spirited persons, have sought a declaration that Supreme Court case proceedings of “constitutional importance having an impact on the public at large or a large number of people” should be live streamed in a manner that is easily accessible for public viewing. Further direction is sought to frame guidelines to enable the determination of exceptional cases that qualify for live streaming and to place those guidelines before the Full Court of this Court. During his period of internship he has worked on various matters of Constitutional importance which were heard in the Supreme Court. However, those cases were listed on the miscellaneous days and due to the ban of the entry of the interns on the said days he could not hear any of the hearings. Disappointed, he spoke about the unfairness of the entire scenario to Mr. Sancheti, who then suggested that if he felt so strongly about it, he must challenge it. “The idea stayed at the back of his mind for a long while and one day during his vacations, he decided to act upon it and ended up drafting and filing the petition by him,” The motivation for seeking impleadment in the case was quite similar for Aman, Byron, Ayush and Ashwariya as well. All four of them spoke about the importance of learning by witnessing Court proceedings which is a lesson they missed out on several times either due to the ban on interns on Miscellaneous days or due to over-crowding of Courtrooms during important hearings.
- Whether live-streaming should be introduced in other Courts of the apex Court and in Courts across the country?
The Supreme Court of India has held that the Court proceedings shall be live-streamed in the larger public interest. The top Court stated that live streaming of Court proceedings will bring accountability and transparency into the judicial system and serve the public interest. The bench said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, let people get first-hand information about what is going on in Courtroom proceedings. The Bench has said that appropriate Rules in that regard will be framed soon under Article 145 of the Constitution of India. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, the bench said while allowing live streaming of Court proceedings. “While considering the petition filed by Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, the Court had earlier observed that live streaming of Court proceedings will help litigant instantaneously know what happened to his case and how his lawyer performed his case before the Court. Along with Jaising’s petition, the Court also considered a petition by law student Swapnil Tripathi, who challenged the bar imposed on interns entering Courtrooms on miscellaneous days. On August 3, CJI Misra had asked petitioner intern Swapnil Tripathi to submit guidelines to the Attorney General K K Venugopal regarding creation of a live streaming room in the apex Court premises exclusively for law interns and law students. The Attorney General K. K. Venugopal had suggested that the live telecast of the apex Court proceedings be done in only constitutional matters on an experimental basis. “The government is taking this very seriously.
The case which is brought before the Court deserves acceptance to support the constitutional rights of the public as well as the litigants. By allowing the live streaming of Court proceedings the Court has to maintain a balance the certain interest which includes the administration of justice, privacy of the parties and to maintain the decorum of the Courts. Therefore, the guidelines which are given by the Court should be properly followed.
In conclusion, the author wants to conclude that the Supreme Court has allowed the live streaming of proceedings in the Court in the larger interest so that there can be transparency in the justice which is given by the Court. The Court has also issued some guidelines to balance the interest between the administration of justice and the decorum of the Court. The Court has also allowed the interns to attend the Court proceedings so that they can learn every procedure of the Court.