Live-Streaming of Court Proceedings is a Welcome Step

Live- streaming of court proceedings is a momentous and laudable decision of the Supreme Court of India. This will, without doubt, bring about transparency in the courts. Incidentally, the first step in this direction was taken in November 2017, when the bench headed by the CJI Dipak Misra directed that the proceedings of two courts in every district of the country would be video recorded. Now in the first week of July this year a bench consisting of the CJI, Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud handed down an earth-shattering decision for the live telecasting of the court proceedings and the beginning will be made from the court of the Chief Justice itself.

There are many democratic countries where video recording is allowed. In some countries like; the United States of America live telecast of some selected cases is also permitted. Thus the Supreme Court of India will be the first in the world to have allowed for the live streaming of the proceedings.

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned all judges sit in the courtrooms exactly at 10:30 am, without being late even for one minute. However, in most of the High Courts, the condition is not so good. The judges often come late in the courts. Sometimes they come late from half an hour to one hour and they retire to their chambers as per their sweet wills.

The condition of the lower courts across the country is in the total mess. The Judges come and go as and when they desire. It is an open secret that the corruption in the lower judiciary is stinking to the high heaven. A reader/peshkar takes money for the filing of the documents, giving of the dates or providing information about the next date of hearings or for the changing the dates. These employees take bribes from Advocates and their clients in the full glare of the judges.

These peshkars/ ahlmads supply milk, bread, butter, vegetables and groceries to the houses of presiding deities. The situation is not so bad in Delhi and many other cosmopolitan towns but in districts it is rampant. The judges have become so shameless that they do not feel anything bad in it. Many times even if the bail has been granted, the papers will not be prepared till the palms of the concerned Ahlmad are not greased. Peons and employees openly demand money as if it is their right.

The live telecasts of the Court proceeding will certainly help curb the corruption to a large extent. This will make lethargic and incompetent judges more alert and at the same time save the clients from extortion by the non-judicial employees. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant. This will largely cure the infection of corruption and help the ordinary people in getting the justice relatively fast because the conduct of the judges, advocates, court employees and others will always be in the public scanner. This will also ensure the judges and the advocates to remain prepared during the hearings of the cases because their conducts will be in the surveillance of thousands of people.

No doubt, what has not been achieved by the strictness of the administration will be achieved by the modern technology. Almost everybody knows that there are many advocates, who only seek adjournments to delay the cases. Clients also indulge in highly unethical practices to get the justice delayed. The live-streaming will also go a long way in controlling the witnesses to behave properly because it has been found that they often turn hostile for some considerations.

However, the presiding Judges will be to ensure that the courts’ rooms are not converted into the places of theatrics. There are no dearths of such advocates who may adopt the recourse of dramatics to get the cheap popularity. We see that even the live telecasting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha has not been able to inject a sense of responsibility among the members of parliament. Therefore, the judges will have to take extra care to ensure that some advocates do not hijack the court discipline for cheap publicity.

The technology has come as a boon for the eradication of corruption and we must salute and welcome it with open arms to make the country a better place to live in. This move will also instil a new faith in the judiciary.