In a historic move, the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to begin live telecast of court proceedings of the Constitutional Bench from September 27. All cases of national importance, be it the Citizenship Amendment Act or the abrogation of Article 370 or the formation of the Maharashtra government under Eknath Shinde, which will be up before a larger bench of five or more judges will now be streamed live for the public.
The decision, in the interest of judicial transparency, was arrived at during a full court meeting convened by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit which was attended by all judges. The live telecast of the proceedings will begin as a pilot project.
The development comes four years after then CJI Dipak Misra-led three judge bench had in 2018 agreed to start live telecast of proceedings in a phased manner in the ‘Swapnil Tripathi’ judgement. The top court had put certain safeguards in place so as to protect the “majesty and dignity” of the court hearing the case and to ensure that it doesn’t “impinge upon any rights of the litigants/witnesses.”
The bench had also ruled that the live telecast should be time lagged as the court reserved the right to stop the proceedings in case of any mishap in the courtroom. The court also ruled that the telecast be done by a government broadcaster like Doordarshan and/or any official websites of the court among many such measures listed for the staggered commencement.
After four years since the judgement, all judges present in Tuesday’s full court meeting gave their unanimous consent to get implement the SC guidelines and start telecasting on an immediate basis.
Not so long ago, CJI UU Lalit was a part of the outgoing CJI NV Ramana’s bench on August 26 where all the proceedings were streamed online for the first time.