Transparency in Court Proceedings
15/05/2021

Tags:

Context:

  • A mobile app that would allow media persons to view the Supreme Court’s virtual proceedings live on their mobile phones has been launched.
  • Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana also launched a new feature in the Supreme Court’s official website called ‘Indicative Notes’.

About:

  • The CJI said public access to court hearings was important as the rulings of courts, more particularly the Supreme Court, had an impact on the lives of people across the country.
  • It was highlighted that the role of the media assumes importance in the process of disseminating information.
  • Indicative Notesis aimed at providing concise summaries of landmark judgments in an easy-to-understand format.
  • It would serve as a useful resource for media persons and the public who wish to be better informed about the rulings of the court.
  • It is widely opined that access to media to court proceedings would increase transparency.

Background

  • The Media is considered the Fourth pillar of democracy. Objective of the media is to spread the news to people.
  • Presently, people can't access the live proceedings of the Supreme Court as they could in pre-covid times. 
  • In this scenario, the Supreme Court has come up with this app where links will be shared on the App for virtual hearings.
  • The Supreme Court is also introducing a feature of Indicative Notes on its website and on the App too. It will be a repository to all the landmark judgements.
  • The virtual meetings will be opened for other courts too once a proper informed consensus is reached.
  • The SC has taken various steps in past years to take justice closer to people to access it. Even vernacular translations of the judgements are being provided by the Court.
  • The e-Court Mission Mode Project was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

Benefits

Challenges

  1. Open to all
  2. Transparency, right to access to justice, fostering public confidence, and education people about how the judiciary functions.
  3. Safeguarding public interests
  4. Avoiding fake news
  5. Safe work conditions
  1. Lack of technical infrastructureinternet connectivity
  2. Matters which privacy dimensions are out of scope.
  3. Link to live access could be misused.

Conclusion:

  • The pandemic has presented the Supreme Court with both a challenge and an opportunity to adopt technology. The live proceedings should continually be used even in post-covid times as:
    • It is a faster way of operating and justice will be delivered fast.
    • Travel costs and other expenses will reduce significantly.
    • Mechanisms would become more transparent and accountable.
  • Both audio-visual recordings and transcripts of oral arguments should be maintained for the purpose of posterity.
  • The openness and transparency will reinforce the public’s faith in the judicial system as “sunlight is the best disinfectant”
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