The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned till August 2020 in a plea filed for passing of an administrative order to ensure mandatory use of mic systems by all judges in open court-rooms of Supreme Court.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy took up for hearing a petition filed by a group of law students and lawyers for protection of right of media correspondents while reporting court proceedings and adjourned it at the request of petitioners.
The plea avers that the non-usage of Mic-system installed at the benches of justices and the place earmarked for Advocates to argue is violating not only the fundamental right of the media, general public, advocates, interns and litigants but is also creating a hindrance in the administration of justice.
The Petitioners highlight the difficulty faced by them to understand court proceedings both as law interns and as litigants. It is stated that This could easily be avoided with the use of pre-installed MicSystem in the Court Rooms of this Hon'ble Court.
"Earlier, Petitioners were of the view that this difficulty was just limited to law interns. Later on, unfortunately, Petitioners faced the same problem as litigants. A litigant not being able to properly observe the proceedings of his/her own case, is nothing but a travesty of justice as their access is restricted upto the space provided in the last row... justice is done in the interest of all and not merely for the parties particularly in the matters of public importance"
Highlighting the fundamental right of "Freedom of Press", the petitioner goes on to make a case for the violation of this right under Article 19(1)(a) due to non-usage of mic-systems by the bar and the bench. It is stated that it not being able to hear exchanges properly can even lead to serious consequences such as misreporting and even contempt of court.
"The non-usage of mic-system by the Justices and Advocates of this Hon'ble court puts media correspondents in great difficulty in reporting the court proceedings to the general public at large. With the rise of digital media platforms, there is a great rush to break news in real time... this might cause misreporting leading to irreparable loss to all the stakeholders involved. Such misreporting can also invite contempt of Court. The chances of misreporting may easily be minimized by use of pre installed Mic-System in the courtrooms" - Excerpt of Plea
Apropos this, the petitioners highlight that a huge cost was incurred in replacement of the Mic system in court rooms of the Supreme Court, amounting to Rs. 91,95,859 and non-usage of such a public asset violates the statutory and fundamental rights of various stakeholders.
Further, the plea avers that on November 14, 2018, the CJI had made a statement in open court regarding our request for mandatory usage of mic system which was "There is a request to use mics, we will use mics", however, no action was taken regarding this issue, it is contended.
Click Here To Download Petition
Click Here To Download Order