NEW DELHI: In a fresh bid to ensure judicial accountability, the Supreme Court has decided to test the waters for allowing cameras in court rooms.
A bench comprising justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U.U. Lalit directed all 24 high courts to install cameras in at least two district courts. The cameras will be placed within the courtrooms as well as in strategic places in court complex including in chambers of judges.
According to Apurva Vishwanath's report in livemint.com, the high courts will have to submit a report of the experiment after a month. The case will be heard next on 9 August. However, the order states that audio will not be recorded at this stage and the footage will not be made available under the Right to Information Act.
Earlier, the court had appointed senior advocate R. Venkataramani as amicus curie (Latin for friend of the court) to visit the court complex in Gurugram and submit a report.
The court’s move comes after several public interest litigation cases seeking telecast of court proceedings have been dismissed. In 2015, a three-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice of India H.L Dattu had also declined to allow CCTVs in court rooms.
Even the e-committee of the apex court had turned down a proposal to record court proceedings.
The government has, however, toyed with this idea to ensure transparency in spite of the court’s resistance. Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, a committee under the ministry of law had made a second reference to the apex court’s e-committee in 2015.
The proposal was made after the Union cabinet approved the second phase of the e-courts project. Under the first phase, computerization of courts was taken up.
Currently, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the Australian supreme court among others telecast court proceedings. Recently in 2016, China joined the list.
The court’s ruling is surely the first step in adding India to the list.