Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and P.B. Pardiwala, J., while addressing an issue with regard to the live streaming of the Court proceedings held that a committee to work out the modalities for the said purpose has been constituted comprising of two Judges of this Court.

A law student raised the issue with regard to the Live Streaming/Open Access of the Court proceedings and in the public interest Gujarat High court should work out the necessary modalities for the said purpose.

Bench on perusal of the material on record, stated that to observe the  requirement of an open Court proceedings, members of the public should be allowed to view the Court hearings through video conferencing except the proceedings ordered for the reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera.

Right to Know and receive information is one of the facts of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings.

As, the above-stated Court proceedings involve the issue impacting the public at large or a section of the public.

Bench appreciated the efforts of the 3rd year law student appeared in person in the public interest.

Further, in line of the above-stated observations, Bench stated that to work out the modalities to facilitate the people at large including the media to watch the virtual hearing, Committee of two Judges of this High Court has been constituted pursuant to Standing Committee’s decision on 25-06-2020.

In the near future, a report of the committee is expected after which to allow access to the public at large including the media persons of print digital and electronic media shall be finalized.

Petition was disposed of in view of the above. [Pruthvirajsinh Zala v. Gujarat High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1055 , decided on 20-07-2020]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Singapore: A Single Judge Bench of Choo Han Teck, J., dismissed appeals filed against the order of the Assistant Registrar, whereby the application for stay filed by the appellants on account of an arbitration clause, was dismissed.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether a stay should be granted in favour of three defendants (appellants) on the ground of effective case management, even though they were not parties to arbitration.

The Court observed that effective case management is not a legal principle, it is rather an administrative term used to denote the administrative functions of the courts such as placing cases in order of priority, fixing the dates for hearing, no. of days for hearing etc. Although there is a possibility of conflicting findings by the arbitrator and the Court that should not be the only ground to stop the plaintiff from proceeding against all the four defendants collectively especially when the plaintiff claims that all the four defendants had conspired to cause him harm. The order of stay was granted in favour of defendant no.1 because it was a party to the arbitration while the rest of the defendants were not.

The Court held that whatever might be the outcome of the arbitration, it will not bind the plaintiff or the three defendants in an action before the Court. Further, there was no good reason to grant a stay in favour of the three defendants, who were not even parties to the arbitration, so that they can take their seats as spectators to the arbitration proceedings. Hence, the assistant registrar had rightly rejected the application of all the other defendants apart from defendant no.1. Resultantly, the appeals filed by the appellants were dismissed by the Court. [Epoch Minerals Pte Ltd. v. Raffles Asset Management (S) Pte Ltd., [2018] SGHC 223, order dated 08-10-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Justice should be administered in an open court”

Supreme Court: In the matter concerning live streaming of court proceedings, the Attorney General KK Venugopal suggested “Guidelines for Live Streaming of Court proceedings in Supreme Court”.

A writ petition was filed seeking a declaration for permitting live streaming of Supreme Court case proceedings of constitutional and national importance having an impact on the public at large and further to frame guidelines for the determination of such cases which are of national and constitutional importance.

The recommendations placed by AG Venugopal were as follows:

  • Live streaming should be introduced as a pilot project in Court No. 1 and only in the Constitution Bench references.
  • Media room should be established on the premises of the court in order to ensure that all persons including journalists, interns, visitors, and lawyers have access to live streaming.
  • Supreme Court in the future may also provide for transcribing facilities and archive the audio-visual record of the proceedings to make the webcast accessible to litigants and interested persons.
  • Recommendations for the safeguarding and limiting of the broadcasting and recording of the proceedings are:
  • Court must have the power to limit, temporarily suspend or disallow filming or broadcasting, if such measures are likely to interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial and administration of justice.
  • Guidelines for the determination of proceedings consisting of constitutional and national importance matters.
  • Broadcasting must not be permitted in the cases involving matters such as matrimonial, interests of juveniles, national security, protection of confidential or sensitive information, cases provoking sentiments, etc.
  • The footage of live streaming would be restricted for the purpose of news, current affairs, and educational purposes.
  • Without the proper and prior authorization of the Supreme Court of India, live streaming should not be reproduced, transmitted, uploaded, posted, modified, published or re-published to the public.
  • Unauthorized usage of the live streaming or webcasts will be punishable as an offence under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • Courts may also lay down the rules of coverage.
  • Case management techniques should also be introduced for a speedy manner of disposal.
  • Supreme Court should also lay guidelines for having only two camera angles, one on the judge and the other on the lawyer.

The recommendations were filed by the Attorney General in relation to the petition filed by advocate-activist Indira Jaising. [Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court, WP(C) No. 66 of 2016, dated 24-08-2018]