Judicial Reforms

Supreme Court nod to live-streaming of court proceedingsPriority 1SC Judgements


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Judgment

Mains level: Need for propagating exact hearings of the judiciary to enhance understanding of a particular Judgment involving Public Interest.



  • Ushering in more transparency in the judiciary’s work, the Supreme Court gave its nod to live-streaming of court proceedings.
  • The court held agreement with the recommendations submitted by Attorney General K K Venugopal regarding live-streaming.
  • The judgment pointed out that the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, will have to suitably amended to provide for the regulatory framework to incorporate the changes.

Importance of the ruling

  1. Although courts in India are ordinarily open to all members of the public, sometimes they are denied the opportunity to witness the proceedings due to logistical issues and infrastructure restrictions.
  2. By providing ‘virtual’ access of live court proceedings to one and all, it will effectuate the right of access to justice or right to open justice and public trial
  3. It will also put to affect the right to know the developments of law and including the right of justice at the doorstep of the litigants.
  4. The court expected that this does not interfere with the administration of justice or the dignity and majesty of the court hearing the matter and/or impinge upon any rights of the litigants or witnesses.

Impact of Broadcasting

  1. It will reduce the public’s reliance on second-hand narratives to obtain information about important judgments of the court and the course of judicial hearings.
  2. Society will be able to view court proceedings first-hand and form reasoned and educated opinions about the functioning of courts.
  3. This will help reduce misinformation and misunderstanding about the judicial process.

Starting on Pilot basis

  1. As a pilot project, only cases of constitutional and national importance being argued for final hearing before the Constitution Bench are live-streamed initially, the court said.
  2. For this, permission of the court concerned will have to be sought in writing in advance.
  3. Consent of parties to the proceedings must be insisted upon, and if there is no unanimity between them, the court concerned can take the appropriate decision in the matter.
  4. The court concerned will also have the power to revoke permission at any stage of the proceedings.

Other Details

  1. There must be a reasonable time-delay (say 10 minutes) between the live court proceedings and the broadcast.
  2. This is to ensure that any information which ought not to be shown, as directed by the court, can be edited from being broadcast.
  3. The judgment touched on the placement of cameras in the courtroom and reproduction, re-broadcasting, transmission, publication, re-publication, copying, storage and/or modification of any part(s) of the original broadcast of court proceedings, in any form, physical, digital or otherwise, must be prohibited.
  4. It will also attract prosecution.

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