The e-committee of the Supreme Court released the Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings on June 7, 2021. A sub-committee consisting of judges of the Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Karnataka High Courts was constituted to frame model live streaming Rules. These model rules are aimed to provide a balanced regulatory framework for live streaming and recording of court proceedings to bring greater transparency, inclusivity, and access to justice. Salient features of the Model Draft Rules are as follows:
- The official release stated that the final decision as to whether to allow the Live streaming of the Proceedings or any portion 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.
- The Draft Rules further 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.
- Further, it said it is expedient to set up infrastructure and the framework to enable live-streaming and recording of Proceedings.
- As per the Rules, 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.
- 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 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. Also, Special arrangements will be made for differently abled persons.
- The committee has invited inputs, feedback and suggestions on the draft rules from all the stakeholders.
*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together.