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Live streaming of cases: SC refers matter to CJI

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra has declined to pass any order on a plea for live streaming of important national and constitutional cases, and instead placed it before the Chief Justice on the administrative side.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising had moved an application before the top court to frame rules live streaming of national and constitutionally important cases.  

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Mishra told Jaising: “Let’s see if the pilot project works. If it doesn’t, everything goes. If it works, we can consider. But not like this. You can’t file such Intervention Application… you cannot compel us to enforce anything.” 

The apex court had allowed the live-streaming of court proceedings connected with matters pertaining to constitutional issues and also issues involving national importance. This was considered a step towards bringing transparency, as the court had said the openness was like “sunlight” which is the “best disinfectant”.

The court’s judgement came on a plea by law student, Swapnil Tripathi, and others, saying live streaming of the proceedings will allow people to access first-hand information. It will reduce dependence on second-hand narrative, serve educational purposes, and enhance the Rule of Law and legal understanding.

The plea had sought of initiation of a pilot project where a specific category of cases,  constitutional and national importance, argued for final hearing before the Constitution Bench, would be live streamed. 

Jaising insisted someone must act on the outcome of Tripathi’s plea, and also contended before the court she has been effectively pursuing this, but her efforts have not borne fruition. 

To this, Justice Mishra said: “The September 2018 judgement cannot be last word, it can only be suggestive. The judgement cannot be binding. Compulsion to frame guidelines is not the final word.” 

Jaising argued it has been over a year to this judgement, which ruled that appropriate guidelines be framed. “I have been writing to the Secretary General to understand, what is the progress…..live streaming is access to justice. It is for people not present in the court to observe cases of national importance,” she submitted.

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