In a much-required move, the Gujarat High Court administration on Monday started live streaming of the proceedings from the court of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala. The live streaming of court proceedings, which has been started to ascertain the feasibility and workability of available options, is available on YouTube.
Whether the court will continue the live streaming facility, or not, will depend on the outcome of the trial run that started today. According to the high court administration, the link for live streaming has been made available on the high court website and will be updated every day.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Gujarat High Court discontinued the physical functioning of the courts and instead started virtual hearings. However, common people, who are not directly connected to any litigation being heard by the court, did not have any access to court proceedings.
Also, the court during the pandemic took several public interest litigation (PIL) matters and passed several important judgments and directions to the government for the proper management of the pandemic. However, due to the lack of open access to court proceedings, citizens could not witness the hearings in these important PILs.
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 to virtual hearings. The petition was filed during the lockdown.
The division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala had then revealed that the Gujarat High Court administration had 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.
The bench, in its judgment, had 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.”
Citing Supreme Court judgments, the division bench had remarked: “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 courtroom.”
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