Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Monday notified live streaming and recording of court proceedings rules to “imbue greater transparency, inclusivity, and foster access to justice”.
The preface of the rules state that it was expedient to set up infrastructure and the framework to enable the live streaming and recording of proceedings to “imbue greater transparency, inclusivity, and foster access to justice”.
The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has framed the rules in the exercise of powers under Article 225 and Article 227 of the Constitution of India and all other powers enabling in this behalf.
The definition of live-stream, live-streamed, and live streaming has been provided under section “xii” and means and includes a live television link, webcast, audio-video transmissions via electronic means or other arrangements whereby any person can view the proceedings as permitted under these rules.
According to the rules, proceedings have been defined under section ‘xiii’, meaning and including “judicial proceedings, Lok Adalat proceedings, full-court references, official transfer, elevation, retirement, and farewells organised by the court”.
Recording has been defined to mean audio and video data of proceedings stored in the electronic format, whether it is live streamed or not.
The rules said that the recording device means and includes a device capable of recording images or sound, including but not limited to camera, audio recorder and video recorder, mobile telephone, or screen recorder.
Certain proceedings have been excluded from live streaming and include matrimonial matters, child adoption and child custody including transfer petitions arising there under, Cases concerning sexual offences, including proceedings instituted under Section 376, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and cases concerning gender-based violence against women.
Also, matters registered under or involving the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 have been excluded.
The matters registered under or involving the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and in-camera proceedings as defined under Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) or Section 153 B of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) have also been excluded from the purview of the live streaming.
Besides, the matters excluded include those where the bench is of the view, “for reasons to be recorded in writing” that publication would be antithetical to the administration of justice.
Also cases, which in the opinion of the bench may provoke enmity amongst communities likely to result in a breach of law and order, have been excluded. Also recording of evidence, including cross-examination; privileged communications between the parties and their advocates; cases where a claim of privilege is accepted by the court, and non-public discussions between advocates and any other matter in which a specific direction is issued by the bench or the Chief Justice have been excluded.
The rules also provide for setting up of a dedicated control room (DCR) for every court complex.
The DCR shall, among others, comprise an officer of the court, technical and video- recording experts.
While the DCR would monitor and track proceedings as they are live streamed, recorded, and transcribed, the same should ensure that nothing uncivil or inappropriate is streamed in the public domain. The rules say that the technical experts under the direct supervision of the Registrar (IT) or her or his nominee would coordinate the coverage of proceedings.