Delhi HC live streaming, recording rules notified for transparency, fostering access to justice

NewsDrum Desk
24 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has notified the rules for live streaming and recording of proceedings to imbue greater transparency and inclusivity, and foster access to justice.

‘Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings Rules of the High Court of Delhi, 2022’, framed by the high court with the prior approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, have come into force from January 13 when they were published in the Gazette.

As per the rules, live-stream/ live-streamed/ live streaming means a live television link, webcast, audio-video transmissions via electronic means or other arrangements whereby any person can view the proceedings as permitted under these rules.

The rules, which will apply to the Delhi High Court and to the courts and tribunals over which it has supervisory jurisdiction, said recording means audio and video data of proceedings stored in electronic format, whether it is live streamed or not.

It said all proceedings will be live streamed by the court excluding matrimonial matters, child adoption and child custody, cases concerning sexual offences, gender-based violence against women, matters registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

Several other categories of cases have also been excluded from being live streamed.

The rules said if any party has any objection to live streaming of its case, the issue can be raised by filing of a prescribed form and the final decision shall be of the bench concerned.

“The final decision as to whether to allow the live streaming of the proceedings or any portion thereof will be of the bench. However, the decision of the bench will be guided by the principle of an open and transparent judicial process. The decision of the bench shall not be justiciable, provided that, in case of difference of opinion, the matter can be referred to a larger bench for a final decision,” it said.

It added that in case the judge concerned on the bench is desirous of opting out of live streaming while dictating the order/oral judgment, live streaming will be paused during that period and the computer monitors will display a message ‘order-dictation in progress’.

The archived data should ordinarily be retained by the court for at least six months, subject to special directions issued by the bench concerned in a particular case and the chief justice may issue practice directions regarding the cases and the period for which archived data will be preserved.

The rules said there shall be a delay of 10 minutes in streaming, which may be changed as per the direction of the court and it shall be carried out from the designated venue as decided by the bench.

Regarding the prohibitions and restrictions on usage of the recording or live stream, the rules stated that no person or entity (including print and electronic media, and social media platforms) other than an authorised person or entity shall record, share or disseminate live streamed proceedings or archival data.

“This provision shall also apply to all messaging applications. Any person/ entity acting contrary to this provision will be prosecuted as per law. The court shall have the exclusive copyright in the recordings and archival data. Any unauthorised usage of the live stream will be punishable as an offence under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957, Information Technology Act, 2000, and other provisions of law, including the law of contempt,” it said.

It added that the live stream shall not, without the prior written authorisation of the court, be reproduced, transmitted, uploaded, posted, modified, published, or re published in any form.

“The use of authorised recordings in their original form may be permitted by the court, inter-alia to disseminate news and for training, academic and educational purposes. Authorised recordings handed over for the aforesaid purposes shall not be further edited or processed. Such recordings will not be used for commercial, promotional purposes or advertising in any form,” according to the rules.

No person shall use a recording device for recording or transcribing the proceedings, other than those authorised by the court, and during the proceedings, everyone shall follow the instructions of the presiding judge, adhere to courtroom etiquette and discipline and shall not engage in the following actions- audio or video recording, taking screen shots or using mobile communication tools to relay the proceedings.

Any violation will result in prosecution as per law and the bench may also direct seizure of the communication device or recording device, it said.

The rules said to decongest the court rooms, dedicated rooms for viewing the live stream may be made available within the court premises and access shall be given to law researchers, staff, litigants, academicians, and media authorised to enter the court premises upon receipt of necessary permissions.

Appropriate arrangements shall be made to enable viewing of live streams from multiple benches within these rooms and special arrangements will be made for differently abled persons, the rules said. PTI SKV SKV SK

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