The Supreme Court’s e-committee announced the Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings. Matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions arising thereunder, cases involving sexual offences, including proceedings under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, will be excluded from live-streaming, according to the draft rules.
The Bench shall make the final decision on whether or not to authorise live- streaming of the proceedings or any portion thereof. The decision will be influenced by the concept of open and transparent judicial procedure, an official announcement said. The committee has asked for input, comment, and ideas from all stakeholders on the proposed regulations, it said.
To develop model live streaming guidelines, a subcommittee comprised of justices from the Bombay, Delhi, Madras, and Karnataka High Courts was formed. The sub-committee held extensive deliberations, taking into account the principles enunciated in the Supreme Court’s decision in Swapnil Tripathi, such as concerns about litigants’ and witnesses’ privacy and confidentiality, business confidentiality, prohibition or restriction of access to proceedings or trials stipulated by Central or State legislation, and in some cases, the prohibition or restriction of access to proceedings or trials stipulated by federal or state law.
According to the proposed guidelines, at least five cameras will be mounted in the courtroom, one facing the Bench, the second and third facing the advocates involved in the case, the fourth facing the accused (when relevant), and the fifth facing the deponent/witness, as needed. The presiding judge on the Bench will be given a remote control device to halt or interrupt the Live-streaming at any moment.
According to the draft guidelines, dedicated room(s) for viewing the Live-stream may be made accessible within the Court Premises in order to decongest the courtrooms. Law researchers, staff, litigants, academicians, and media persons who are authorised to join the Court will be granted access.
Upon receipt of all relevant licences and permits, the premises will be ready to use. Appropriate preparations must be implemented to allow live-stream watching from numerous Benches within these rooms. It said that special provisions will be made for those with disabilities.
The High Court of “Judicature” created these Rules in the exercise of its powers under Article 225 or related legislation, as applicable, and Article 227 of the Indian Constitution. According to the release, these Rules will apply to the High Court of “Judicature” and the courts and tribunals over which it has supervisory jurisdiction.