The Bombay High Court has prohibited the use mobile phones, cameras or any other recording devices inside court rooms. Lawyers are the only ones exempted from the said rule.
The notice reads- “The defaulters will be liable for confiscation of such device and/ or fine as may be determined by the Court and in addition, will also be liable for an action under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 as well as such other penal action.”
This decision came about as a person was caught by a lawyer taking a video of the court proceedings in Chief Justice Manjula Chellur’s court, court room 52.
Registrar General of the Bombay High Court Mangesh Patil spoke to Livelaw, below are the excerpts-
How did this come about Sir? Did something happen?
Yes, a person was caught video recording the proceedings in the first court.
Is this meant for the media as well Sir?
Yes of course, anybody except lawyers. Because we have an SMS service for lawyers where we send them messages regarding the hearing dates etc. They have been excluded, also being officers of the court they are supposed to be responsible enough.
Why isn’t the media exempt Sir?
You must be aware that the Supreme Court has the same practice. Even when I go there, I have to keep my mobile phone somewhere else.
We have made it clear, people are responsible for their belongings, they cannot bring it (mobile phones) to court halls.
Previously, the bench headed by CJ Manjula Chellur had dismissed a petition seeking video recording of court proceedings for greater transparency. The bench had relied on an order passed by the bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and GS Patel in a similar petition. In the order, Justice Patel had observed-
“These are courts, not stages and sets from The Truman Show. This is a judicial proceeding of the utmost solemnity, not The Hunger Games.”
Interestingly, one more incident took place in Justice Kathawalla’s court in 2012, where a law student had filmed almost a 30 minute video of the court proceedings. Following this Justice Kathawalla had suggested the Administrative Committee of the High Court to disallow mobile phones within courtrooms.
Read the notice here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.