The Gujarat High Court administration has formed a two-member committee to look into the aspect of open public access to the virtual hearings being carried out by the high court. It was revealed by Gujarat High Court’s division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala.
Nirma University student sought open public access to court hearings
Notably, a third-year law student of Nirma University had approached the Gujarat High Court through a PIL seeking open public access of virtual hearings. The division bench was adjudicating the matter.
2 judges committee looking into issue
The division bench in its recently pronounced judgment in the case said two judges of the high court are in the panel and looking into the matter. The committee’s report is awaited and once the report is submitted, the high court administration will look into it.
The court clarified that the two-judge committee was constituted pursuant to the decision taken by the standing committee in the meeting held on June 25.
The bench, in its judgment, said: “The Committee, as referred to above, is working on the modalities and would be placing its report in the near future. Once the report is received, the further action to allow access to the public at large including the media persons of print digital and electronic media shall be finalised.”
Public entitled to witness court proceedings
The division bench also cited Supreme Court judgments in this regard. It said: “The public confidence in the administration of justice is of such great significance that there can be no two opinions on the broad proposition that in discharging their functions as judicial Tribunals, the Courts must generally hear the causes in open and must permit the public admission to the court room.”
“The right to know and receive information is one of the facets of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason, the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings involving the issue having an impact on the public at large or a section of the public, as the case may be,” the court remarked.
After clarifying that the high court administration will take a decision in the matter, the court disposed off the petition. Notably, the petitioner had cited that various high courts in the country have ensured access to virtual hearing of cases for the general public, but the same has not been made available by the Gujarat High Court.
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