Next week onwards, all constitution bench hearings in the Supreme Court will be live-streamed.
On Tuesday, a full court, which comprised all judges of the apex court, discussed the matter and decided on live-streaming proceedings. According to people familiar with the development, judges agreed that live-streaming could begin from September 27, with the broadcasting of constitutional cases on a regular basis.
Last week, senior advocate Indira Jaising wrote to the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court to begin live-streaming proceedings of matters of public and constitutional importance, and also to keep a permanent record of the arguments by counsel on all sides along with the proceedings of the court.
Jaising said a number of matters of national importance, which includes petitions challenging the EWS quota, hijab ban, Citizenship Amendment Act, are being heard by the apex court and urged it to allow live-streaming of cases as per the 2018 judgment, as a part of the fundamental right of every citizen to freedom of information and also the right of access to justice. “There is no substitute for first-hand knowledge, especially in the era of what has come to be known as ‘fake news’ and hence, there is an urgent need for real time information. Since the judgement was pronounced, I have made repeated requests to the Hon’ble court to commence live-streaming cases of national importance,” said Jaising.
The cases likely to be live-streamed include petitions challenging the EWS quota law, the Centre’s petition on enhanced compensation for victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, excommunication in the Dawoodi Bohra community, and the apex court’s power to dissolve marriages on the ground of irretrievable breakdown.
Jaising had said the apex court should have its own channel and, in the meantime, the court can start streaming its proceedings on its own website, as well as on YouTube. She added there is adequate infrastructure and the ceremonial proceedings were live-streamed on the date of retirement of a former Chief Justice N.V. Ramana
Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Patna, and Madhya Pradesh High Courts live-stream their proceedings through their YouTube channels.