On Monday, the E-committee of the Supreme Court headed by Justice DY Chandrachud published Draft Rules for Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings.
The Draft rules state that to imbue greater transparency, inclusivity and foster access to justice, it is expedient to set up infrastructure and the framework to enable live-streaming and recording of Proceedings.
These rules will be applicable in all High Courts and to the courts and tribunals over which it has supervisory jurisdiction.
Following are the salient features of the Draft Rules on Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings:
- Cameras will be installed in the courtroom covering at least five angles; one towards the Bench, the second and third towards the advocates engaged in the concerned matter, the fourth towards the accused (where applicable) and the fifth towards the deponent/witness, as required.
- A remote-control device shall be provided to the presiding judge on the Bench to pause or stop the Live-streaming at any time.
- A dedicated control room (DCR) shall be set up for every court complex
- Subject to the exclusions contained within these Rules, all Proceedings will be Live-streamed by the Court.
- The following will be excluded from Live-streaming:
a. Matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions arising thereunder.
b. Cases concerning sexual offences, including proceedings instituted under Section 376, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
c. Cases concerning gender-based violence against women.
d. Matters registered under or involving the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
e. In-camera proceedings as defined under Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) or Section 153 B of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC).
f. Matters where the Bench is of the view, for reasons to be recorded in writing that publication would be antithetical to the administration of justice.
g. Cases, which in the opinion of the Bench, may provoke enmity amongst communities likely to result in a breach of law and order.
h. Recording of evidence, including cross-examination.
i. Privileged communications between the parties and their advocates; cases where a claim of privilege is accepted by the Court; and non-public discussions between advocates.
J. Any other matter in which a specific direction is issued by the Bench or the Chief Justice.
- Live-streaming in certain cases may be restricted to final arguments.
- The Court Master/Reader shall duly inform the parties, before the commencement of the proceedings, that the proceedings are being Live-streamed and that objections, if any, should be articulated at that juncture to the concerned Bench.
- The final decision as to whether or not to allow the Live-streaming of the Proceedings or any portion thereof will be of the Bench.
- However, the decision of the Bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent judicial process. The decision of the Bench shall not be justiciable.
- In cases where the Proceedings are not Live-streamed, the Recording shall be maintained for usage by the Court and the Appellate court(s)
- In criminal matters, the testimony of victims and witnesses will be recorded for the exclusive use of the concerned Bench and the Appellate court(s), as per the direction issued in that behalf.
- The following will ordinarily not be Live-streamed or saved in the Archival Data or transcribed:
- Discussions between/amongst the judges on the Bench.
- Instructions given by a judge to the administrative staff during the Proceedings.
- Any communication/message/document given by the Court Master/Reader to the Bench.
- Documents given to the judge during the Proceedings.
- Notes taken down by the judge during the Proceedings.
- Notes made by an advocate either on paper or in electronic form, for assistance, while making submissions before the Bench.
- Communication between the advocate and client, inter-se the advocates, and communications which is not a submission exchanged between the advocate and the Court.
13. There shall be a delay of ten minutes in streaming, which may be changed as per the direction of the Court.