Chief Justice of India considering proposal to live telecast proceedings of SC

Transparency is a time-honoured principle when it comes to the judicial process in our country. Hearing of cases have always taken place in public courtrooms, with access being allowed not only to the lawyers and the litigants in a particular case, but also to the general public”

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Thursday said he was “actively” considering the proposal to live telecast the proceedings of the Supreme Court.

However, Justice Ramana emphasized that before initiating concrete steps to live telecast the court proceedings, he plans to seek a general consensus among his colleagues in the top court. He was speaking at the launch of a mobile application to grant access of virtual proceedings of the top court to the media persons. “Transparency is a time-honoured principle when it comes to the judicial process in our country. Hearing of cases have always taken place in public courtrooms, with access being allowed not only to the lawyers and the litigants in a particular case, but also to the general public”, said Justice Ramana.

He emphasized that access to the public is important, as court rulings, and more particularly the Supreme Court, have a bearing on the lives of people throughout this country. “The role of the media assumes importance in the process of disseminating information. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 struck, the systems which were earlier in place could no longer be relied upon. The judicial system has had to adapt quickly in order to ensure that justice dispensation does not stop in the country”, added Justice Ramana.

He said, “I was a journalist for a brief time. That time we did not have cars or bikes. We used to travel on bus as we were directed not to avail conveyance of organisers of the event.”

Justice Ramana also highlighted another feature on the official website and mobile application of the top court. “This new feature, called “Indicative Notes” is aimed at providing concise summaries of landmark judgments in an easy-to-understand format. This will serve as a useful resource for media persons and the general public who wish to be better informed about the rulings of the Court. Thanks are due to my predecessor Justice Bobde for initiating this”, said Justice Ramana.

He cited that small issues are bound to arise, which should not be unnecessarily magnified. “I request everyone to be patient, to be encouraging and supportive to the technical team to ensure that the application works without any problems. I hope that everyone gives the system the requisite time to evolve and expand”, added Justice Ramana.

He added that directions have been issued to further rationalize the policy of granting accreditation to media persons.

He pointed out that many staff of the top court were also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Till date, approximately 800 Registry staff have tested positive. Six of our Registrars and 10 Additional Registrars have tested positive at different times. Unfortunately, we lost three of our officials to COVID as per the data available, 2768 judicial officers and 106 Judges of the High Court have tested positive. We are yet to receive the data from two major High Courts. 34 Judicial Officers and three Hon’ble Judges of the High Court have lost their life, battling this pandemic”, he added.

Justice D Y Chandrachud, who is the head of the top court’s e-committee, said “We hope that this facility which CJI unveils will keep you all safe. Journalists are exposed so much to outside world.”

Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Hemant Gupta also spoke on the occasion.

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