IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd September, 2022 Polity and Governance

Copyright infringement not intended


In News

  • The Supreme Court of India has decided to live stream its proceedings in important Constitution Bench cases.


Present status of live streaming of judicial proceedings in India

  • In 2018, a Supreme Court bench had agreed to hear a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) aspiring live streaming of judicial proceedings on important matters of constitutional and national importance.
  • The Supreme Court approved a set of guidelines and also did not allow live streaming in the cases involving:
    • Matrimonial matters.
    • Matters involving juveniles or the protection and safety of the private life of young offenders.
    • Matters of National security.
    • To ensure that victims, witnesses or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear. Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
      • It may provide for face distortion of the witness if she/he consents to the broadcast anonymously.
      • To protect confidential or sensitive information, including all matters relating to sexual assault and rape.
    • Cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.
  • Currently, the Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts live stream their proceedings.

Live streaming of judicial proceedings around the Globe

  • In USA: The US Supreme Court has rejected appeals for broadcast of its proceedings, but since 1955 allowed audio recording of oral arguments.
  • In Australia: Live or delayed broadcasting is allowed but the practices differ across courts.
  • In Brazil: Since 2002, live video and audio broadcast of court proceedings is allowed.
  • In Canada: Court Proceedings are broadcast live on Parliamentary Affairs Channel.
  • In United Kingdom: Court Proceedings are broadcast live with a one-minute delay on the court’s website, but coverage can be withdrawn in sensitive appeals.


Significance of the step

  • Broadcasting court proceedings will ensure transparency and greater access to the justice system.
  • Citizens have a right to know what arguments are made and the responses of the judges as their judgements bind us all.
  • The principle "justice should not only be done but seen to be done".
  • Live Steaming would empower, and provide access to citizens who cannot personally come to court due to social, economic, health, or physical disability-related limitations.
  • It would enable citizens to have first-hand information on case proceedings on issues of constitutional importance that affect them directly or indirectly.



  • The individuality of judges is more likely to become a subject of public debate through live-streaming, creating problems of its own.
  • Lawyers aspiring to publicize themselves through their addresses to the Bench.
  • It will affect the normalcy of the proceedings.
  • Video clips of court proceedings are already on social media platforms with sensational titles and little context, such as “HIGH COURT super angry on IAS/IPS officer”. This irresponsible use of content could spread disinformation among citizens.


Way Forward

  • Live streaming is neither required in all types of matters nor in all courts.
  • Live streaming or videography could be avoided in the matters which have a privacy dimension, such as family matters or criminal matters.
  • Any Kind of Misuse of court proceedings video must be dealt with strict law and also need to formulate guidelines to promote the positive impact while curbing the negative one.