Shedding reluctance, SC agrees to open courtrooms to cameras
After years of reluctance, the Supreme court has finally allowed installation of CCTV cameras in courtrooms. These cameras should not have an audio recording feature.
The Supreme court order directs 24 high courts across the country to ensure that district and sessions courts in a minimum of two districts in every state and union territories have CCTV cameras installed inside courtrooms within three months.
The concerned high court will oversee installation and working of cameras whereas District or Sessions judge will monitor in camera court proceedings from their chambers.
Various aspects associated with the issue:
- The order comes after several rounds of deliberations between the Central government and the top judiciary on the issue of audio-video recording of court proceeding. This to ensure transparency and better case management of court proceedings.
- Earlier the judges at the Supreme court have demonstrated reluctance stating that a wider consultation was necessary before a final decision was made
- Many PILs demanded recording of court proceedings
- Even the law commission have favoured recording of court proceedings
- A petition was moved by a man, who had sought audio-video recording of the trial proceedings of his matrimonial dispute to ensure a fair trial
Rationale behind the order:
- It would enhance transparency in court proceedings
- It would help keep a tab on conduct of judicial officers, lawyers, victims, witnesses and police personnel
- It would also help in keeping electronic records of cases
Some caveats to the order:
- The footage of the CCTV camera will not be available under the Right to Information Act(RTI)
- It will not be supplied to anyone without permission of the concerned high court
- The location of the district courts and any other issue that concerns the subject will be decided by the respective high court
- A report will be submitted within one month of such installation by the Registrar Generals of the respective high courts to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court
If secrecy were to be observed in the functioning of government and the processes of government were to be kept hidden from public scrutiny, it would promote and encourage corruption, oppression and misuse or abuse of authority, for it would all be shrouded in the veil of secrecy without any public accountability.