The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to look into the possibility of connecting live video recordings of court proceedings with National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG).
The top court also asked the Centre to consider a provision for installing CCTV cameras in consultation with the appropriate superior authority of the concerned court or tribunal in places which do not have high ranking officials.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit asked Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand to take instruction with regard to connecting of live video recording with NJDG.
It asked the high courts regarding courts and the coordinating ministries with regard to tribunals, to take a decision on installing CCTVs in places which do not have high ranking officials.
Anand said she will take instructions in this regard.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing in third week of January.
The top court also refused to allow the intervention of an NGO Lok Prahari in the matter saying no impleadment application can be allowed in this case.
The NGO had sought intervention saying if the government delayed installation of CCTV cameras in courtrooms, then private individuals, whose cases are being heard by the court, be allowed to video record the proceedings.
On November 23, the Centre had informed the apex court that live video recordings of judicial proceeding have started in several trial courts and tribunals in various states with the help of CCTVs installed in court rooms.
Live video recording of judicial proceedings assumes significance as the apex court and various high courts have in the past refused to allow the same.
Taking a reformatory approach and in a bid to bring in transparency, the top court had on March 28, for the first time, directed the installation of CCTV cameras without audio recording in courts of two districts of each state and union territory.
The Centre had informed the apex court that Chhattisgarh has installed CCTVs in trial courts of three districts, Delhi Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana in two districts each, Tamil Nadu in five and the entire state of Sikkim in all trial courts.
It had said that states like Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Bihar, Rajasthan have initiated the process and were in communication with respective high courts and Ministry of Information and Technology.
The apex court had on November 21 said there was no need for privacy in courtrooms as nothing private happened there and had favoured early installation of close circuit televisions in the courts.
The top court had said the installation of CCTV cameras in the courts would be in larger public interest, discipline and security.
The top court had then observed that the constitutional courts in other countries had audio and video recording, as it was not a matter of privacy of judges. It had cited the example of judicial proceedings in the US Supreme Court, saying all these were available publicly, even on the Youtube.
The top court had, however, made it clear that the footage of the CCTV camera or the audio recording will not be made available under the Right To Information Act and not supplied to anyone without permission of the concerned court.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Pradyuman Bisht seeking audio and video recording of court proceedings in order to bring transparency.
( Source – PTI )