CCTV Cameras In Courts: Supreme Court Pulls Up Centre For Callous Approach

The apex court said it will first see the response of the pilot project of CCTV installations in trial courts and tribunals and then would look for the possibility in high courts and the Supreme Court.

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CCTV Cameras In Courts: Supreme Court Pulls Up Centre For Callous Approach

The Supreme Court said installation of CCTV cameras in the courts would be in larger public interest.


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today pulled up the Centre for adopting a "callous approach" on the issue of installation of CCTVs in courts and tribunals for recording judicial proceedings and sought a status report on the work done on it till now.

The apex court said it will first see the response of the pilot project of CCTV installations in trial courts and tribunals and then would look for the possibility in high courts and the Supreme Court.

"You should not adopt a callous approach towards this issue. This is a serious issue. You file the status report of CCTV installations in tribunals by next date of hearing," a bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit said.

Counsel appearing for the Centre said that they have not received a status report from the tribunals and sought some more time.

The bench appointed senior advocate Sidharth Luthra as amicus curiae (friend of court) to assist in the matter.

The court also refused to allow an individual petitioner to intervene in the matter.

The counsel, appearing for the individual petitioner, said that like trial courts and tribunals, the apex court should also pass orders for installation of CCTV cameras in high courts and the Supreme Court.

"This is a pilot project in which we allowed CCTV installations in trial courts and tribunals. Let the response of this project come and then we will explore the possibility of installations of devices in high courts and the Supreme Court," the bench said.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a man named Pradyuman Bisht seeking audio and video recording of court proceedings in order to bring transparency.

On December 11, last year, the apex court had asked the Centre to look into the possibility of connecting live video recordings of court proceedings with National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG).

The top court had also asked the Centre to consider a provision for installing CCTV cameras in consultation with the appropriate superior authority of the concerned court or tribunal which do not have high ranking officials.

For courts and tribunals which do not have high ranking officials, it had asked the high courts to take a decision for subordinate courts and the coordinating ministries to decide for the tribunals over installing of CCTVs.

On November 23, last year, the Centre had informed the apex court that live video recordings of judicial proceedings have started in several trial courts and tribunals in various states with the help of CCTVs installed in court rooms.

Live video recording of judicial proceedings assumes significance as the apex court and various high courts have in the past refused to allow it.

Taking a reformatory approach and in a bid to bring in transparency, the top court had on March 28, for the first time, directed the installation of CCTV cameras in courts of two districts of each state and union territory.

The apex court later expanded its order and directed for installation of CCTVs in all the trial courts and tribunals.

The Centre had informed the apex court that Chhattisgarh has installed CCTVs in trial courts of three districts, Delhi Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana in two districts each, Tamil Nadu in five and in all trial courts in Sikkim.

It had said that states such as Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Bihar, Rajasthan have initiated the process and were in communication with respective high courts and the Ministry of Information and Technology.

The apex court had earlier said there was no need for privacy in courtrooms as nothing private happened there and had favoured early installation of close circuit televisions in the courts.

The top court had said that the installation of CCTV cameras in the courts would be in larger public interest, discipline and security.


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