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Petition in Gujarat High Court seeks public access to virtual hearings

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A petition has been filed in the Gujarat High Court seeking open access to live streaming of virtual court hearings amid the coronavirus pandemic. The petition has been filed by a third-year law student of Nirma University.

The petitioner has contended that under the present system, the video link for accessing the virtual hearing of a case is only made available to the concerned lawyers and remains inaccessible to the public-at-large including litigants, law students, and journalists among others.

The petitioner has also contended that the hearings ought to be made more accessible by setting-up live streaming mechanisms as enshrined under legal provisions that relate to open trials and access to the public during the hearing of cases.

“The right of access to justice flows from Article 21 of the Constitution. The concept of justice at the doorstep would be meaningful only if the public gets access to the proceedings as it would unfold before the Courts and in particular, opportunity to witness live proceedings in respect of matters having an impact on the public at large or on section of people,” the petition provides.

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The petitioner has requested the Gujarat High Court to frame appropriate guidelines or rules to administer live streaming of court proceedings.

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