19 May 2021 4:38 AM GMT
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been moved before the Rajasthan High Court praying that in matters concerning the COVID situation in the State of Rajasthan, the Court's proceedings be live-streamed on a platform easily accessible by the Public at large. The petition has been filed by Advocate Arpit Gupta further seeks direction on the Registry of the Rajasthan High Court...
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been moved before the Rajasthan High Court praying that in matters concerning the COVID situation in the State of Rajasthan, the Court's proceedings be live-streamed on a platform easily accessible by the Public at large.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Arpit Gupta further seeks direction on the Registry of the Rajasthan High Court to take necessary steps for setting up a live streaming mechanism.
The plea submits,
"The proceedings which are in nature of exceptional public importance such as relating to the prevalent COVID-19 situation in the State of Rajasthan are of paramount interest of public at large and ought to be live-streamed in a manner that is easily accessible for public viewing."
Further, the plea states that this step would benefit the citizens state of Rajasthan as live streaming of court proceedings is manifestly in public interest and that the same is an extension of the principle of open justice and open courts.
Stressing that the public has the right to know about the proceedings happening before the Court of law, the plea avers,
"It shall help in enhancing the accountability of judicial institutions and of all those who participate in the judicial process."
The petitioner places reliance on the case of Swapnil Tripathi Vs Supreme Court of India (2018) 10 SCC 639, wherein the Apex Court had, while allowing the petition seeking live streaming of court proceedings, held that the right to know and receive information, was a facet of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
In the case of Swapnil Tripathi & Ors. v. Supreme Court of India & Ors., the Supreme Court had decided to live-stream Court proceedings in the larger public interest.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant", a five-Judge Bench had observed.
The plea also states that live streaming of court proceedings in matters of public importance would epitomize transparency, good governance and accountability.
The plea lastly states,
"It is most relevant to note that the public at large deserves to know the stand of the state government and other nodal authorities and what efforts are being made on behalf of the State of Rajasthan in dealing (with the Pandemic)."
In related news, a PIL has recently been filed before the Allahabad High Court seeking permission for Live-streaming and Live-reporting of Court proceedings across the State of Uttar Pradesh, including the High Courts, Subordinate Courts and Tribunals.
"The fundamental right to Freedom of the Press, of the petitioners – as journalists/ media persons – is well-settled in the day to gain access to VC or physical hearings and report the same as they occur, as the same is an implicit aspect of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution," the petition states.
The petition has been filed by legal journalists Areeb Uddin Ahmed and Sparsh Upadhyay along with three law students, stating that access to Court proceedings has been extremely restricted for legal journalists and law students due to virtual hearings being conducted amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In view of the Supreme Court's recent Judgment [Election Commission of India v. MR Vijaya Bhaskar LL 2021 SC 244] upholding the freedom of media to report the oral observations and discussions made by judges and lawyers during a court proceeding, an application has been moved before the Gujarat HC seeking e-access to media.
The application has been filed by Advocate Amit Manibhai Panchal in an ongoing matter before the Gujarat High Court related to COVID management in the State of Gujarat [Suo Motu Writ Petition (PIL) No. 53 of 2021].