The Supreme Court of India on Monday favoured audio and video recording of all court proceedings, including in the apex court complex, stressing that it will boost transparency.
The top court observed that the constitutional courts in other countries have audio and video recording as it is not a matter of privacy of judges.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and UU Lalit directed the Centre to submit a feasibility of installation of CCTV cameras with audio recordings in courts and tribunals.
“Constitutional courts in other countries have audio and video recording. It is not a matter of privacy of judges,” the bench said, citing examples of the proceedings of the U.S. Supreme Court which are available even on YouTube.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for Centre, said that there was a decision of the e-committee of the apex court that does not allow the recording of Supreme Court’s proceedings.
The bench said that order was on the administrative side only and a Court of Record means that each and everything should be recorded as long as it does not obstruct the proceedings.
The top court said it is open for the high courts to decide on the issue of installation of CCTVs with audio recording in as many courts as they considered appropriate.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a certain Pradyuman Bisht seeking audio and video recording of court proceedings in order to make them more transparent.
The top court had on March 28 ordered installation of CCTV cameras without audio recording in courts of two districts of each in states and union territories in three months.
During the hearing, ASG Singh also submitted reports from various high courts on installation of CCTV cameras. He said 12 high courts had already implemented the March 28 directive.
The apex court made it clear that the footage of the CCTV camera or the audio recordings will not be made available under the Right To Information Act and not supplied to anyone without permission of the concerned High Court.
It included tribunals for the first time, besides the courts,for installation of CCTV cameras with audio recordings.
It had asked for the report of such experiment within a month of such installation from the Registrars General of the respective high courts to the Secretary General of apex court.