[Answered] Broadcasting court proceedings is a step in the direction of transparency and greater access to the justice system, but there are concerns around the impact of live streaming both on judges and the people watching the proceedings. Elaborate.  

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how broadcasting court proceedings are a right step for the justice system. Also write some concerns around the impact of live streaming both on judges and the people.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Live Streaming of Court proceedings has already been started in High Courts of Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Patna and Madhya Pradesh thus allowing media and other interested persons to join the proceedings. Recently the Supreme Court has decided to live-stream all constitution bench hearings to address pleas to make the highest judiciary’s proceedings transparent and accessible to one and all.

Why it is a right step?

  • Accountability:As stated by SC, Live streaming is an extension of the principle of open court and will bring accountability to the judicial process.
  • Right of access to Justice:Live proceedings are in line with the right of access to justice under article 21. This would help people residing in distant places to witness court proceedings, which they otherwise could not have due to logistical issues and infrastructural restrictions.
  • International comparison:Among big and established democracies, India is alone that is not providing video or audio transcripts of the court proceedings, despite having in place the required infrastructure for the same.
  • Article 129:Publishing court proceedings is an aspect of Article 129, per which the Supreme Court is a court of record.
  • Boosting public confidence in judiciary:Litigants depend on the information provided by the lawyers, regarding the court proceedings. If the description and information provided are inaccurate, not only it negatively impacts the confidence in the judiciary, it also violates the public’s right to know.

What are the concerns?

  • A huge concern will be the cyber security threat.
  • Justices behave like politicians when given free television time; they act to maximize their individual exposure.
  • Live streaming of Court proceedings is open to misuse as proved by so many complaints over the virtual court proceedings.
  • Live-streaming would lead to people filing petitions just for the sake of “being heard all across the country”.
  • There are lots of issues and arguments during the hearings which might not be suitable for live streaming.
  • It will be susceptible to abuses.Thus, issues of privacy may arise.
  • Due to the presence of the digital divide in the country, live streaming still might not result in access to justice for all sections of the country.

Owing to increased frequency of cybercrimes, there is a need for the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties.

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