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Supreme Court Live Streams Constitution Bench Proceedings

Sep 27, 2022

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In today's Current Affairs editorial, we will discuss the Supreme Court Live Streams Constitution Bench Proceedings. Read this blog post to enhance your UPSC CSE preparation and find the topic's relevance to the IAS syllabus. 

For Prelims: Judiciary, Supreme Court’s Proceeding, Attorney General of India, E-governance.

For Mains: Live streaming in HCs, Concerns, Benefits.

Probable Question

Comment whether the live streaming of court proceedings would be a boon or a concern. 

Context

 Recently the Supreme Court decided to live-stream its proceedings in crucial Constitution Bench cases that will be heard from September 27.

About Live Streaming

  • The first step towards live streaming of proceedings was by a petition citing the principle of open access to justice.
  • This was agreed by a three-judge Bench, who agreed to hear public interest litigation seeking live streaming of judicial proceedings on matters of constitutional and national importance, in 2018.
  • The Attorney General of India also recommended introducing live streaming as a pilot project in the CJI’s court, and only in Constitution Bench cases.
  • The A-G suggested that the court must retain the power to withhold broadcasting, and also not permit it in cases involving:
    • Matrimonial matters,
    • Matters involving the interests of juveniles or the protection and safety of the private life of the young offenders,
    • Matters of National security,
    • To ensure that victims, witnesses or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear. Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses. It may provide for face distortion of the witness if she/he consents to the broadcast anonymously,
    • To protect confidential or sensitive information, including all matters relating to sexual assault and rape,
    • Matters where publicity would be antithetical to the administration of justice, and
    • Cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.

Live streaming in HCs

  • Gujarat High Court began to live-stream its proceedings in July 2021. 
  • Currently, the Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts live-stream their proceedings. 

Benefits of Live Streaming

  • It is a step in the direction of transparency and greater access to the justice system.
  • Positive systemic corrections can also be made possible due to the broadcast of court proceedings.
  • It causes awareness in the masses about judicial matters.
  • It conforms to and ensures the right to information to the citizens of the country. 

Read yesterday’s edition of Current Affairs on SEBI's News Account Settlement System, in case you missed reading it.

Concerns about Live Streaming

  • There are fears that irresponsible or motivated use of content could spread disinformation among the public.
  • It can also breach privacy.
  • Broadcast of proceedings corresponded with a growth in the frequency of filibustering.
  • Comments passed by the judiciary in interim hearings may be different from actual final judgements. It may create contradictions in the perception of common people. 

Also Read: Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution

Additional Information:
Live Stream at Global Level:
United States of America: Audio recording and transcripts of Oral argument is allowed.

Australia: Live or delayed broadcasts are allowed but the practices and norms differ across courts.

Brazil: Live video and audio broadcasts of court proceedings both are allowed. A public television channel, TV Justiça, a radio channel, Radio Justiça, and dedicated YouTube channels for video, and audio and to hold discussions and commentaries on the judicial system.

Canada: Proceedings are broadcast live on Cable Parliamentary Affairs Channel.

South Africa: Since 2017, the Supreme Court of South Africa has allowed the media to broadcast court proceedings in criminal matters.

United Kingdom: Proceedings are broadcast live with a one-minute delay on the court’s website, but coverage can be withdrawn in sensitive appeals.

News Source: The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/live-streaming-of-sc-proceedings-the-rationale-and-the-concerns-8164955/

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