Supreme Court begins historic live-stream of constitution bench proceedings
The Supreme Court on Tuesday finally started to live-stream its constitution bench proceedings for the first time. Last week, in a full court meeting—headed by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit—a unanimous decision was taken on the live broadcast. The key cases being heard by constitution benches on Tuesday include the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota and petitions related to the Shiv Sena crisis.
Why does this story matter?
- The live-streaming of the SC's constitution bench hearings comes a month after CJI Lalit assumed the charge, and it also comes amid growing complaints over inordinate delays in hearing various cases.
- Previously, ex-CJI NV Ramana also expressed his desire to begin live-streaming of the Supreme Court cases.
- On Ramana's last day, the SC live-streamed the proceedings before his ceremonial bench on a trial basis.
Proceedings broadcast live on YouTube
According to reports, the apex court will initially broadcast live proceedings on YouTube before hosting them on its own server. They said that anyone could access the court proceedings on their computers, laptops, and cell phones. Notably, the SC live-streamed a ceremonial bench session using a webcast portal for the first time since its inception on August 26, the last day of CJI Ramana.
Here's how you can access the live SC proceedings
The #SupremeCourt will begin livestreaming #ConstitutionBench proceedings today.— Supreme Court Observer (@scobserver) September 27, 2022
Challenge to EWS Reservations: https://t.co/NDcvnR14XC
Shiv Sena split and the tussle for control of Delhi civil services: https://t.co/EB3jDnDOXW
Significant cases to be heard by constitution benches
There are several important cases being heard by the constitution benches that will be live-streamed from Tuesday. These include challenges to the EWS quota law, pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the SC's power to dissolve marriages on grounds of irretrievable breakdown, and the constitutional questions arising from the political row in Maharashtra and Shiv Sena's leadership, among others.
Senior counsel Indira Jaising urged CJI to begin live-streaming hearings
According to reports, the SC's decision to start live broadcasting the hearings in cases of public and constitutional importance was expedited after senior counsel Indira Jaising wrote to the CJI demanding that it do so. To recall, she was one of the petitioners in 2018 who sought that live-streaming of proceedings be recognized as a right to information of freedom and access to justice.
SC's landmark judgement in 2018
In 2018, the top court ruled that the live broadcast of court hearings was not outside the scope of the Constitution's Article 21 guarantee of access to justice, according to Hindustan Times. The then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, delivering a landmark judgment on the live telecast or webcast of important proceedings in matters of constitutional importance, had said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Six state high courts live-stream hearings on YouTube
Notably, six high courts in India currently have YouTube channels to live-stream their sessions on the internet. They include the HCs of Gujarat, Odisha, Patna, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Karnataka. The Supreme Court's e-Committee is currently working on a proposal to create a unique platform for live-streaming its court sessions. The proposal is part of the third phase of the e-courts project.