‘Think Later’ about Live- Streaming Proceedings: Supreme Court

Shobhan Sachdeva

24 Nov 2020

As due to the ongoing pandemic that is being suffered by the whole world Live- Streaming is the only possible solutions that is going great and also very successful.

The system of video-conferencing in providing access to justice to citizens during the ongoing pandemic situation has been “extremely successful” and granted liberty to the high courts to frame rules for such virtual hearings for themselves and the subordinate courts. As due to the ongoing pandemic that is being suffered by the whole world this is the only possible solutions that is going great and also very successful. All the rules and regulations that is to be followed through the virtual proceedings are being followed by the advocates, judges and clients.According to the operating procedure laid out by the Supreme Court, lawyers are first required to file their application, preferably through the e-filing mode on the court website, after which they are allowed to send another application elaborating on the urgency of their plea. If accepted, their plea is then listed before the court.

A Whatsapp group is made by the vault under the steady gaze of the consultation, for lawyers to raise inquiries identified with the video conferencing measure. Moreover, helpline numbers have additionally been assigned for their help. A greeting join for VIDYO, a video conferencing application, is sent by the court library to the versatile numbers/email delivers to the legal counselors around thirty minutes before the planned hearing. Legal advisors are banished from sharing or sending the connection to any other person. The gatherings have been carefully coordinated to keep their mics on quiet consistently, aside from when they are approached to make entries by the seat. They are likewise denied from recording, duplicating, putting away or broadcasting the procedures.

Therefore, the proceedings can now only be viewed by the lawyers and their clients, and are not open for public viewing. As against this, Bombay High Court, Kerala High Court and Orissa High Court were conducting open access hearings through the app Zoom.

In Madras High Court some unfair practices had been adopted due to which the apex court said that the issue that had been raised related to the live- streaming Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had referred to such practices. The top court had also taken the suomoto cognizance a letter that had been written by the former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president and senior lawyer also slewed directions to use technology for conducting hearings across the country to avoid congregation due to the ongoing pandemic.Venugopal raised the issue of live-streaming of the apex court’s proceedings and said it has been working well in the Madras high court.The court said there are a lot of issues that cannot be discussed publicly and it would think over the matter later.

The virtual court hearing system of video-conferencing has worked very well and pointed out the "glitches" in the functioning of the facility in the apex court, while urging Justice Chandrachud, who is heading the e-committee, to take the necessary steps. Justice Chandrachud also concluded that the tenders have been issued to find a person to take care of the complete video-conferencing facility of the apex court and for the high courts and trial courts, a national tender would be given to ensure a common virtual hearing platform.

Earlier, the top court had given a huge number of bearings on the working of courts which was not more compelling and proficient through video-conferencing during the pandemic the same number of legal advisors and judges were facing a lot of problems from this so the senior advocate Harish Salve told the court that Reliance Jio has the “best optical fibre network”, which is not expensive.

Granting the liberty to the high courts to decide as to what kind of video-conferencing facilities they would like to use, the bench said there is the issue of "e-literacy" as well and moreover, there are issues related to the types of network available in a particular state.It additionally said an advisory group containing some pinnacle court judges, the attorney general and the master general would be outlined to consider recommendations to improve the working and workplaces in the pinnacle court. The seat disclosed to Salve that the organization can officially meet the e-panel of the zenith court in such manner. It likewise said a board containing some summit court judges, the lawyer general and the specialist general would be framed to think about recommendations to improve the working and offices in the peakcourt.

The parties have been strictly directed to keep their microphones on mute at all times, except for when they are asked to make submissions by the bench. They are also prohibited from recording, copying, storing or broadcasting the proceedings. Therefore, the proceedings can now only be viewed by the lawyers and their clients, and are not open for public viewing. As against this, Bombay High Court, Kerala High Court and Orissa High Court were conducting open access hearings through the app Zoom. However, the high courts of Bombay and Orissa have stopped using this application, following an advisory issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs calling it unsafe.