The Supreme Court on Friday said it was considering establishing an independent platform for live-streaming court cases in a bid to institutionalize the entire process for generations to come.
During the hearing of Senior Advocate Indira Jaising’s request for live streaming of matters of public and constitutional concern, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said verbally,
“Most High Courts do this on YouTube. We thought now that we could have our own platform to do live streaming… We want to have an institutionalized process. During the pandemic we “had” to do it ad hoc. Well what we do will be for posterity. It is a complex and large country with diverse access to interests. We have to keep that in mind too.“
Currently, Supreme Court proceedings are streamed live on the National Informatics Center (NIC) YouTube channel.
CJI said SC’s e-committee wants to issue an “expression of interest” and have an agency to create its own platform for live streaming.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising also asked the court to allow easy access to VC links. “Several HCs put the links on the cause list themselves. If it can be a unified policy.“
The CJI has asked the Registry to consider this proposal.
Jaising also requested that the court keep transcripts of the hearing. However, the CJI replied that the cost of doing so was very high.
“If you need to do a physical transcription, we need a large number of people… For transcription services, the cost of transcription is quite high. It is now used in some arbitrations.“
CJI also expressed concern about the proliferation of small clips from court cases on social media. “Clips are often taken out of context. We must ensure that the sanctity of the institution is preserved,he said. He said that once the regular platform is up and running, only the live videos will be streamed and access to the archives will only be granted to real people upon request. “According to the procedure, access may only be granted to bonafide Individuals such as researchers, litigants, etc.,” said CJI.
Jaising pointed out that the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling provided that the copyright of the live stream recordings remained with the court. CJI said Jaising can offer her suggestions to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court while the live-streaming rules are being finalized.
The Supreme Court, too, had previously indicated its propensity for a “national infrastructure” so that even Supreme Courts and others could use it. In September, the Supreme Court took the historic step of beginning live broadcast of hearings before the Constitutional Courts. The live streaming received a huge public response with hundreds of people watching the videos.
Last month the court had Issued notification of a petition seeking instructions to retain the Supreme Court’s copyright on the live stream videos uploaded to YouTube.