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ACCESS TO JUSTICE: LIVE STREAMING OF COURT PROCEEDINGS.

Courtesy/By: A. SIVABAGYAM | 2021-05-26 18:10     Views : 75

Today on 26th October 2020 the Gujarat High Court has made a revolutionary decision and has begun live-streaming court proceedings on the video-sharing platform, YouTube. The proceedings before the bench of the Chief Justice will be streamed live from today. The pandemic has presented the courts with an opportunity to adopt the technology. As the nationwide lockdown was imposed and the movement of people was restricted, the courts decided to move to the online platform. Proceedings were conducted online through video conferencing and rules and protocols were framed to facilitate e-hearings. The Supreme Court of India has reaffirmed that under Article 21 of the Constitution, ‘access to justice’, is a fundamental right. 

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” So, it is clear that the two rights secured under this Article are, right to life and the right to personal liberty. The right to life provided here does not only connote the mere act of being alive. This right has a wider meaning which includes the right to live with dignity, the right to health, the right to livelihood, etc. It comprises various aspects of life that make it worth living. With this wide interpretation, it can be construed that there is nothing that indicates that the denial of ‘access to justice’ would not adversely affect the quality of human life and therefore it is also a right that has been conferred under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The press release given by the Gujarat High Court, announcing the decision to live-stream proceedings on YouTube, has mentioned the Supreme Court’s judgment, in writ petition (civil) no. 1232 of 2017, Swapnil Tripathi v. Supreme Court of India. This verdict recommended that proceedings may be live-streamed as part of the rights conferred under Article 21. It was also noted that live-streaming should be of court proceedings of constitutional and national importance that have an impact on the public at large and that having open courts help foster confidence in the public concerning the judiciary. In the Model Video Conferencing Rules as prescribed by the e-committee of the Supreme Court of India, it is provided that the public will be allowed to view the court proceedings conducted through video conferencing. The reason for implementing this decision is mainly to expand the concept of open courts by making it accessible to the public, online.

Initially, the costs of implementing live-stream facilities, lack of infrastructure, and technology were the main hindrances that obstructed courts from execution. But since the advent of this pandemic, courts have been forced to conduct their proceedings online to ensure justice isn’t delayed or denied to any person. Live- streaming of court proceedings will actuate the public’s right to information. It will facilitate in gaining knowledge and information concerning the proceedings and reduce reliance on second-hand narratives. It also tackles the main issue of the hour, barriers created due to the pandemic. Physical barriers created by this pandemic restricts the movement of the people and restrains access to courtrooms. This problem can be tackled through live-streaming facilities. It also creates an advantage wherein, accountability of the judiciary increases through this exposure while creating a sense of reliability and confidence about the judicial system, for the public at large.

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.

Courtesy/By: A. SIVABAGYAM | 2021-05-26 18:10

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