HC yet to take policy decision on live streaming court proceedings

100 Microsoft Teams licences had been procured for the conduct of High Court proceedings through virtual mode, says Registrar

The Madras High Court has informed an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Act that it was yet to initiate a proposal and take a policy decision on implementation of the Supreme Court’s 2018 verdict in favour of live streaming of court proceedings though the entire court proceedings were now being conducted only through the virtual mode due to the threat of COVID-19.

In his reply, Registrar (Administration) V. Devanathan, said: “As of now, the High Court of Madras has not initiated any proposal on implementation of the judgement of the honourable Supreme Court of India with regard to live streaming of court proceedings… Policy decision has not yet been taken by the High Court of Madras to provide public viewing of all court proceedings.”

Answering a host of queries posed by the applicant, the officer, however, pointed out that under Rule 9(1) of the Madras High Court Video Conferencing in Courts Rules of 2020, states that the court should endeavour to provide public viewing of court proceedings, except those that had to be held in-camera after recording the reasons in writing, subject to availability of bandwidth.

Mr. Devanathan also stated that so far 100 Microsoft Teams licences had been procured for the conduct of High Court proceedings through virtual mode and 1,068 licences had been procured for the use of trial courts across the State. “However, policy decision has not yet been taken by the High Court of Madras regarding live streaming the court proceedings,” he reiterated.

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