Supreme Court E-Committee Releases Draft Rules For Live-Streaming Of Court Proceedings

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The e-committee of the Supreme Court on Monday released the Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings which is aimed at bringing greater transparency, inclusivity and access to justice”.

The draft rules made it clear that matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions arising thereunder, cases concerning sexual offences, including proceedings instituted under Section 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code, cases concerning gender-based violence against women among others will be excluded from live-streaming.

The final decision as to whether or not to allow the Live-streaming of the Proceedings or any portion thereof will be of the Bench, however, the decision of the Bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent judicial process. The decision of the Bench shall not be justiciable, an official release said.

It said the committee has invited inputs, feedback and suggestions on the draft rules from all the stakeholders.

Further, it said it is expedient to set up infrastructure and the framework to enable live-streaming and recording of Proceedings.

A sub-committee consisting of judges of the Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Karnataka High Courts was constituted to frame model live streaming rules.

The sub-committee held extensive deliberations and it took into account the principles enunciated in the decision of the Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi including the concerns of privacy and confidentiality of litigants and witnesses, matters relating to business confidentiality, prohibition or restriction of access to proceedings or trials stipulated by Central or State legislation and in some cases to preserve the larger public interest owing to the sensitivity of the case.

These model rules provide a balanced regulatory framework for live streaming and recording of court proceedings, the release said.

The draft rules said that cameras will be installed in the courtroom covering at least five angles, one towards the Bench, the second and third towards the advocates engaged in the concerned matter, the fourth towards the accused (where applicable) and the fifth towards the deponent/witness, as required.

In the event that the court has employed an electronic evidence presentation system, an additional feed shall be captured therefrom.

A remote-control device shall be provided to the presiding judge on the bench to pause or stop the live-streaming at any time. Advocates, witnesses, accused, or any other person permitted by the bench, shall use appropriate microphones while addressing the court, the release said.

The draft rules said that in order to decongest the court rooms, dedicated room(s) for viewing the live- stream may be made available within the court premises. Access shall be given to law researchers, staff, litigants, academicians, and media personnel authorised to enter the court.

Premises upon receipt of necessary permissions/approvals. Appropriate arrangements shall be made to enable viewing of live-streams from multiple benches within this/these room(s). Special arrangements will be made for differently-abled persons, it said.

These rules are framed by the High Court of *Judicature* in the exercise of powers under Article 225 or relevant statute where applicable, and Article 227 of the Constitution of India. These Rules will apply to the High Court of *Judicature* and to the courts and tribunals over which it has supervisory jurisdiction, the release stated.

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