(GS PAPER-2, GOVERNANCE
SOURCE- INDIAN EXPRESS)
- The Supreme Court has released the Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings recently.
- These Rules are part of the National Policy and Action Plan for the implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the judiciary.
- The Rules have to cover live-streaming and recording of proceedings in the High Courts, lower courts, and tribunals. Earlier, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) launched a tool of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based portal SUPACE in the judicial system aimed at assisting judges with legal research.
- The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi v Supreme Court of India (2018) had ruled in the favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
- Apex court has held that the live streaming proceedings are part of the right to access justice under Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty) of the Indian Constitution
- Gujarat High Court was the first high court that presented Livestream court proceedings followed by Karnataka high court.
- Telecast of Proceedings: All the proceedings in high courts can be telecast except the cases relating to matrimonial disputes, gender-based violence, those involving minors, and “cases, which in the opinion of the Bench, may provoke enmity and anger amongst societies likely to result in a breach of law and order”.
- Deciding Authority: The final decision as to whether or not to allow the Live-streaming of the Proceedings of cases, however, the decision of the Bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent established judicial process. The decision of the Bench shall not be justiciable.
- Objections: The rules allow for objections that can be filed against live streaming in specific cases at the stage of filing the case or at a later stage.
- Record of Proceedings: The draft rules have permitted for archiving of court proceedings for six months. The use of authorized recordings in their original form can be permitted by the court, inter-alia to disseminate news and for training, academic and educational purposes, etc.
Restrictions are as follows-
- The Discussion amongst honorable judges notes made by them during hearings or communication between the advocate and their client will neither be telecast live nor archived.
- The rules have also prohibited recording or sharing the telecast on media platforms, including social media and messaging platforms, unless authorized by the court.
- Recordings can not be used for any commercial, promotional purposes, or advertising in any form.
- It can make the justice delivery system more affordable, transparent, speedy trials, and accountable by limiting the paper filings.
- It can be a time-saving process and hence can reduce the backlog of all pending cases and reduce the number of unscrupulous activities.
Concerns raised by experts-
- There is a shortage of technical manpower in courts and a lack of awareness amongst litigants, advocates and their acceptance of the system change.
- It may result in a cybersecurity threat.
- The live streaming of the Courts can be susceptible to abuse. Thus, issues of privacy may arise in the country.
- Infrastructure, especially internet connectivity is a very big challenge in implementing the live proceedings of Courts.
- There is a need in our country for the deployment of a security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties.
- Further, the government needs to develop the infrastructure that is necessary to support the e-court project.
- The Solutions that can address the challenges such as inordinate delays in disposal of cases in courts, facilitating access to the speedy resolution of commercial disputes by economic operators, making the justice system user friendly and affordable to all, and improving the quality of legal aid services in the country would be a welcoming step to drive the functioning of e-courts.