Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: On the 7th Day of the Ayodhya Title dispute hearing, Ram Lalla’s counsel, Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ that

“a “massive” temple of Lord Ram, dating back to the second century BC (Before Christ), existed at the disputed site in Ayodhya before the construction of Babri Masjid.”

He referred to the report of a court commissioner, appointed to inspect the site in 1950, and also relied upon the findings of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to buttress its claim over the disputed 2.77-acre land in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. He submitted that according to the ASI report, there “existed a massive, pillar-based structure dating back to the second century BC and the ASI survey was conclusive about there being a ‘mandap’ at the site with pillars“.

The senior lawyer extensively referred to various pictures and reports, including the ASI’s findings on the excavated materials from the disputed site, and said, however, there was no such material to show that it was a temple of only Lord Ram. But the pictures of the deities, including those of Lord Shiva, sculptures on the pillars of “Garuda” flanked by lions and the images of lotus amply indicated that it was a temple and moreover, these things were not found in mosques.

“Keeping in mind the faith of Hindus and preponderance of probability, it would indicate that this was a temple of Lord Ram. … Along with the massive old structure, other materials found during excavation suggested that it was a temple,”

Referring to the Allahabad High Court order, he said one of the judges, Justice S U Khan, did not deal with the ASI report in his judgment and erroneously concluded that the mosque came up on a vacant land and on the ruins of a temple, while the other two judges took note of the report, which said there was a temple where the mosque came up.

When the bench noticed that the question before it was not about the structure but whether it was of religious nature before the mosque was built there, the counsel said,

“It was a temple where the public had access. The basic foundation was the same, while the structure was rebuilt. The underlying foundation never changed. There was a total of 17 rows of pillar bases and each row had five pillars,”

On this the bench asked,

“You also have a grave here. How would you interpret this,”

To this the counsel responded that the grave belonged to a much later period. He also added that there were several layers of excavations and the grave was not found during the deep excavation.

On the issue of “namaz” being offered at the disputed site in the past, Vaidyanathan said,

“Offering prayers cannot mean valid possession unless you already own it. If prayer is offered on the street, it cannot be a proof to own it,”

The bench said the question was whether the disputed structure was “built as a mosque or being used as a mosque“. On this the Counsel said,

“No mosque will ordinarily contain pillars of this nature,”

He said during the 1950 inspection itself, it was very clear that there were various “structures, images” that belied the claim that it was a mosque.

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: PTI)


More from the day-to-day hearing in Ayodhya Title Dispute:

DAY 1| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

DAY 2 | SC seeks evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara

DAY 3|Both Hindus & Muslims have always called the disputed site a ‘Janmasthana’: Ram Lalla’s counsel

DAY 4| SC rejects Sr Adv Rajeev Dhavan’s plea against 5-days a week hearing

DAY 5| Arguments advanced on whether there was an existing temple at the disputed site

DAY 6| Court shouldn’t go beyond rationality of belief of Ayodhya being Lord Ram’s birthplace: Ram Lalla’s counsel

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: On Day 6 of the Ayodhya Title dispute hearing, Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for deity Ram Lalla, told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ that

“it is the belief of Hindus that Ayodhya is Lord Ram’s birthplace and the court should not go beyond to see how rational it is.”

He also told the Court that the birthplace of Lord Ram was also a deity and Muslims cannot claim right over the 2.77-acre disputed land as any division of the property would amount to “destruction” and “mutilation” of the deity itself.

The Court had asked if Hindus and Muslims jointly possessed the disputed site, Muslims could be ousted from it.

Vaidyanathan also submitted before the Court that the English writer William Foster published a book “Early Travels in India” which describes Ayodhya and building of Ram temple.

The Supreme Court said one of the earliest European geographers who write about India Joseph Tiefenthaler seems to suggest that Ram temple was demolished by Aurangzeb. On this, Vaidyanathan said Tiefenthaler refers to two accounts one of demolition by Aurangzeb and second by Babur, but it is clear it was demolished before 1786.

“Who demolished the temple wouldn’t matter for us as it proves that the temple existed. What is important about the document is that it identifies the Janmasthan and that a mosque was put up at the site of the Ram temple.”

On Court’s question when was the temple called Babri Masjid came into existence, Vaidyanathan said:

“In the 19th century it was called Babri Masjid. Before that, there was nothing to prove or show it was called Babri Masjid. Before 1786 there is no document to show this was known as Babri Masjid.”

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: ANI & The Hindu)


More from the day-to-day hearing:

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 1)| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 2)| SC seeks evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 3)|Both Hindus & Muslims have always called the disputed site a ‘Janmasthana’: Ram Lalla’s counsel

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 4)| : SC rejects Sr Adv Rajeev Dhavan’s plea against 5-days a week hearing

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 5)| Arguments advanced on whether there was an existing temple at the disputed site

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: On the 5th Day of the Ayodhya Title dispute hearing, arguments on whether a temple existed at the disputed site in Ayodhya were presented before the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ.

Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, advanced arguments on whether there was an existing temple over which the mosque came up, before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Three judges of the Allahabad High Court had held that there was a temple at the disputed site, Vaidyanathan told the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

“Justice SU Khan of the high court had said that the mosque was built on the ruins of the temple,”

Senior advocate K Parasaran, also appearing for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ told the court that it must do “full and complete justice” in all matters before it.

The bench had on Friday last asked as to whether anyone from the ‘Raghuvansha’ (descendants of Lord Ram) dynasty still resides in Ayodhya.

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: PTI)


More from the day-to-day hearing:

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 1)| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 2)| SC seeks evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 3)|Both Hindus & Muslims have always called the disputed site a ‘Janmasthana’: Ram Lalla’s counsel

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 4)| : SC rejects Sr Adv Rajeev Dhavan’s plea against 5-days a week hearing

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court:  On the fourth day of hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, the counsel appearing for one of the Muslim parties, raised objection over the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeals on five days in a week rather than three. The Court, however, refused  to conduct a 3-days a week hearing and said,

“if you need a break, we can give you when you argue or submit your contentions before us in the case.”

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan had told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ that its decision to hear the case five days in a week is “inhuman”.

“We will not be able to assist the court. Hearing cannot be rushed through. It is simply not possible. I will be forced to leave this case. I am being put to torture because of this case,”

On the the CJI said,

“We have heard your grievance and will inform you about it soon,”

The bench had, on August 8, said that it will hear the Ayodhya title dispute case five days in the week — from Monday to
Friday. It is a deviation from the normal rules as the Constitution bench normally hears the matters only from Tuesday to Thursday. The Court only hears fresh or miscellaneous matters on Monday and Friday.

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: ANI)


More from the day-to-day hearing:

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 1)| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 2)| SC seeks evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 3)|Both Hindus & Muslims have always called the disputed site a ‘Janmasthana’: Ram Lalla’s counsel

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: Senior Advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the Ram Lalla, one of the parties in title dispute case, has told the Supreme Court that Lord Ram’s birth place need not be the exact spot but could also mean surrounding areas.

“Janmasthan need not be the exact spot but can also mean surrounding areas,”

Parasaran told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ that there was no dispute that the disputed site is the “Janmasthana” (birthplace). He maintained that both Hindus and Muslims have always called it a Janmasthana.

The counsel further contended that the high court had ordered partition of the disputed properties but no one had sought it.

“The rights of the entire area, that is 2.77 acres as a whole, had to be decided but the high court divided the property,”

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: ANI)


More from the day-to-day hearing:

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 1)| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 2)| SC seeks evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Court has sought evidence of possession of Ramjanmabhumi from Nirmohi Akhara, after it contended that it had lost the records in a dacoity in 1982.

Senior advocate Sushil Kumar Jain, appearing for the Akhara, told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, Jof that the obstruction to worship and prayer is what forced them to file the civil suits.

“Not just my right of possession but my right of management has also been taken away … There are some property rights which the Shebiat (temple custodian-priest) enjoys. It is not just office but proprietary rights are blended with it. These Shebiats are more than mere managers. They also have proprietary rights,”

The Court clarified that Section 142 of the Limitation Act speaks of possession of the immovable property but does not talk about management and hence the possession of property and management of worship are two different things. Yesterday, the Akhara had told the top court that Muslims were not allowed to enter the temple gate since 1934 and it is in their possession since then.

The counsel asserted that the inner courtyard, which includes Sita Rasoi, Bhandar Grih and a place known as “Janamasthan” are in the possession of the Akhara.

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: ANI)


More from the day-to-day hearing:

Ayodhya hearing (DAY 1)| No Muslim has entered the disputed land since 1934: Nirmohi Akhara

Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: On Day 1 of the day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya land dispute, Nirmohi Akhara, told the 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ that Muslims were not allowed to enter the temple gate since 1934 and it is in their possession since then.

Senior advocate Sushil Jain, appearing on behalf of the Nirmohi Akhara, told the bench that the suit was filed by his client for the belonging, possession and management rights.

“The dome structure in the inner courtyard belongs to the Nirmohi Akhara. They have been wrongfully deprived of the charge and management of the temple,”

The counsel asserted that the inner courtyard, which includes Sita Rasoi, Bhandar Grih, and a place known as “Janam Asthan”, are in the possession of the Akhara.

“The idols were placed inside the mosque on the intervening night of December 22-23, 1949. The dispute for Nirmohi Akhara is for the inner courtyard and not the outer courtyard,”

He further contended that the claim over the disputed land was filed by the Nirmohi Akhara in 1934, whereas Sunni Waqf Board filed the suit in 1961.

Earlier in the day, the Court refused live streaming or audio/video recording of the proceedings due to non-feasibility of the same at the moment. KN Govindacharya had, on 05.08.2019, sought live streaming and recording of the proceedings in the Ayodhya case. He submitted that for the time being, at least the recording of proceedings can be done and at the later stage, live streaming could be considered. Govindacharya, in his petition, asserted that the public are being denied their right to access to justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.

A five-judge constitution bench is conducting a day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute case, after it had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.

Fourteen appeals are pending before the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

(Source: ANI)


Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court:  The Court has agreed to consider the live streaming of the proceeding in the Ayodhya land dispute case after deliberation and institutional decision-making.

A bench headed by Justice S A Bobde said that it would look into the administrative side of the matter after senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing on behalf of former RSS idealogue KN Govindacharya, mentioned the petition
before it, seeking live streaming and recording of the proceedings in the Ayodhya case. He submitted that for the time being, at least the recording of proceedings can be done and at the later stage, live streaming could be considered. Govindacharya, in his petition, asserted that the public are being denied their right to access to justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The plea stated

“live streaming of the Ayodhya case is required considering the fact that in the absence of live streaming of proceedings of this Court, the public are also being denied their right to know as per Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.”

It further said,

“This Court has already held that ‘right of access to justice flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution or be it the concept of justice at the doorstep, would be meaningful only if the public get 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 a section of people,”

The Supreme Court had on August 2 observed that since the mediation panel on Ayodhya matter has failed to achieve any final settlement in the matter, it will hold a day-to-day hearing in the case from August 6.


Also read:

Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed [Full Report]

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6 [Full Report]

Ram Mandir Babri Masjid| Ayodhya matter not to be referred to larger bench; matter not barred by res judicata in Ismail Faruqui case either: SC

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ. decided in favour of live streaming of cases of constitutional or national importance before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. Justice Khanwilkar delivered the leading judgment for the CJI and himself. While Justice Chandrachud rendered a separate concurring opinion.

The petitioners, claiming to be public-spirited persons, sought a declaration that Supreme Court case proceedings of constitutional importance having an impact on the public at large or a large number of people should be live streamed in a manner that is easily accessible for public viewing. Further direction was sought to frame guidelines to enable the determination of exceptional cases that qualify for live streaming. The Court requested the Attorney General for India, K.K. Venugopal to collate the suggestions given by him as well as the petitioners and submit a comprehensive note for evolving a framework, in the event the relief claimed in the writ petition(s) was to be granted.

The Supreme Court made a reference to Section 327 CrPC and 153-B CPC to which can be traced provisions regarding open court hearing. In Court’s considered opinion use of technology to relay the live court proceedings could be a way forward. By providing virtual access of live court proceedings to one and all, it would effectuate the right of access to justice or right to open justice and public trial, right to know the developments of law and include the right of justice at the doorstep of the litigants. However, it was also opined that while doing so, regard must be had to the fact that just as the dignity and majesty of the Court is inviolable, the issues regarding privacy rights of the litigants or witnesses, as also other exceptional categories of cases of which live streaming of proceedings may not be desirable as it may affect the cause of administration of justice itself, are matters which need to be identified and a proper regulatory framework must be provided in that regard by formulating rules in exercise of the power under Article 145 of the Constitution.

While generally agreeing with the Comprehensive guidelines for live streaming of Court proceedings in the Supreme Court suggested by the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal as stated below:–

Recommendations:
Supreme Court may lay down the following guidelines to administer live streaming of Court proceedings:

1. At the outset, it is submitted that Live Streaming of Court proceedings should be introduced as a pilot project in Court No.1 and only in Constitution bench references. The success of this project will determine whether or not live streaming should be introduced in all courts in the Supreme Court and in Courts pan India.

2. To ensure that all persons including litigants, journalists, interns, visitors, and lawyers are able to view the live streaming of the proceedings, a media room should be designated in the premises of the court with necessary infrastructural facilities. This will also ensure that courts are decongested. Provisions may also be made available for the benefit of differently abled persons.

3. Apart from live streaming, the Supreme Court may, in the future, also provide for transcribing facilities and archive the audio-visual record of the proceedings to make the webcast accessible to litigants and other interested persons who are unable to witness the hearings on account of constraints of time, resources, or the ability to travel long distances to attend hearing on every single date. Such webcasts will also allow students of law to supplement their academic knowledge and gain practical insights into cases of national importance.

4. It is pertinent that this Hon’ble Court lay down guidelines to safeguard and limit the broadcasting and recording of its proceedings to ensure better access to justice. Some of the recommendations are:

a. The Court must have the power to limit, temporarily suspend or disallow filming or broadcasting, if, in its opinion, such measures are likely to interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial or otherwise interfere with the proper administration of justice.

b. The Court may law down guidelines/criterion to determine what cases constitute proceedings of constitutional and national importance to seek permission for broadcasting.

c. As held famously in the case of Scott v. Scott, (1913) AC 417, “While the broad principle is that the Courts must administer justice in public, the chief object of Courts of justice must be to secure that justice is done”, broadcasting must not be permitted in the cases involving:

i. Matrimonial matters,
ii. Matters involving interests of juveniles or the protection and safety of the private life of the young offenders,
iii. Matters of National security,
iv. To ensure that victims, witnesses or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear. Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses. It may provide for face distortion of the witness if she/he consents to the broadcast
anonymously,
v. To protect confidential or sensitive information, including all matters relating to sexual assault and rape,
vi. Matters where publicity would be antithetical to the administration of justice.
vii. Cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.

d. Use of the footage would be restricted for the purpose of news, current affairs and educational purposes and should not be used for commercial, promotion, light entertainment, satirical programs or advertising.

e. Without prior written authorization of the Supreme Court of India, live streaming or the webcast of the proceedings from the Supreme Court should not be reproduced, transmitted, uploaded, posted, modified, published or republished to the public.

f. Any unauthorized usage of the live streaming and/or webcasts will be punishable as an offence under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 and any other provisions of the law in force. The law of contempt should apply to such proceedings. Prohibitions, fines, and penalties may be provided for.

g. The Courts may also lay down rules of coverage to provide for the manner in which the filming may be done and the equipment that will be allowed in court.

h. Case management techniques should be introduced to ensure that matters are decided in a speedy manner and lawyers abide by time limits fixed prior to the hearing. A skeleton of arguments/Written submissions should be prepared and submitted to the Court by the lawyers prior to their arguments.

i. The Court of Appeal in England, in November 2013, introduced streaming its proceedings on YouTube. The telecast is deferred by 70 seconds with the Judge having the power to mute something said in the proceedings if he feels they are inappropriate for public consumption.

j. Like the Court of Appeal in England, the Supreme Court should also lay guidelines for having only two camera angles, one facing the judge and the other- the lawyer. The camera should not focus on the papers of the lawyer; the Court was of the opinion that:

  • Project of live streaming must be implemented in a progressive, structured and phased manner, with certain safeguards.
  • The project will have to be executed in phases. Before the commencement of the first phase, formal rules will have to be framed by the Supreme Court to incorporate the recommendations.
  • Only cases of constitutional or national importance being argued for final hearing before a Constitution Bench with advance written permission of the Court concerned be live streamed as pilot project.
  • Prior consent of all parties to be insisted and in case of objections Court to decide and that decision shall be final.
  • Court would retain the power to revoke permission at any stage of the proceedings.
  • There must be a reasonable time-delay between live court proceedings and the broadcast to edit any information which ought not to be shown.
  • Appointment of a technical committee comprising of the Registrar (IT), video-recording experts, etc. to develop technical guidelines for recording and broadcasting.
  • The focus of cameras to be either towards Judges/Bench or the arguing advocates. No broadcast of any interaction between the client and advocate.
  • Court to retain copyright over the broadcast material.
  • Reproduction, publication, etc. of the original broadcast material in any form shall be prohibited.

The Court concluded by reiterating that the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 will have to be suitably amended to provide for the regulatory framework as per the contours delineated hereinabove.

Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, J. delivered a separate concurring opinion wherein he formulated Model guidelines for the broadcasting of the proceedings and other judicial events of the Supreme Court of India

A. Kind of matters to be live-streamed

1. Proceedings involving the hearing of cases before the Supreme Court shall be live-streamed in the manner provided below:

a) Cases falling under the following categories shall be excluded as a class from live-streaming:

(i) Matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions;
(ii) Cases involving sensitive issues as in the nature of sexual assault; and
(iii) Matters where children and juveniles are involved, like POCSO cases.
b) Apart from the general prohibition on streaming cases falling in the above categories, the presiding judge of each courtroom shall have the discretion to disallow live-streaming for specific cases where, in his/her opinion, publicity would prejudice the interests of justice. This may be intimated by the presiding judge in advance or live-streaming may be suspended as and when a matter is being heard; and
c) Where objections are filed by a litigant against live-streaming of a case on grounds of privacy, confidentiality, or the administration of justice, the final authority on live-streaming the case shall lie with the
presiding judge.

2. In addition to live-streaming of courtroom proceedings, the following events may also be live-streamed in the future subject to the provisions of the Rules:
(a) Oath ceremonies of the Judges of the Supreme Court and speeches delivered by retiring judges and other judges in the farewell ceremony of the respective Supreme Court Judges; and
(b) Addresses delivered in judicial conferences or Full Court References or any event organized by the Supreme Court or by advocate associations affiliated to the Supreme Court or any other events.

B. Manner of live-streaming

1. Live-streamed and archived videos of the broadcast shall be made available on the official website of the Supreme Court. The recorded broadcast of each day shall be made available as archives on the official website of the Supreme Court by the end of the day;

2. Live-streaming shall commence as soon as the judges arrive in the courtroom and shall continue till the Bench rises;

3. The presiding judge of the courtroom shall be provided with an appropriate device for directing the technical team to stop live-streaming if the Bench deems it necessary in the interest of administration of justice;

4. Live-streaming of the proceedings should be carried out with a delay of two minutes;

5. Proceedings shall only be live-streamed during working hours of the court;

6. Courtroom proceedings will continue to be live-streamed unless the presiding judge orders the recording to be paused or suspended;

7. To give full effect to the process of live-streaming, advocates addressing the Bench, and judges addressing the Bar, must use microphones, while addressing the Court;

8. Recording of courtroom proceedings shall be done by the Registry with the technical support of National Informatics Centre or any other public/private agency authorized by the Supreme Court or the Ministry of Information and Technology; and

9. The portions of proceedings which are not broadcast online, on the direction
of the presiding judge of the Bench shall not be made part of the official records and shall be placed separately as ‘confidential records’.

C. Technical specifications for live-streaming

1. Live-streaming shall be conducted by the Supreme Court with its own camera-persons or by an authorized agency. No person who is not authorized by the Supreme Court will be permitted to record any proceeding;

2. Cameras should be focused only on the judges and advocates pleading before the Bench in the matter being live-streamed;

3. Cameras shall not film the media and visitor’s galleries;

4. Cameras may zoom in on the Bench when any judge is dictating an order or judgment or making any observation or enquiry to the advocate; and

5. The following communications shall not be filmed:
a) Discussions among the judges on the Bench;

b) Any judge giving instructions to the administrative staff of the courtroom;

c) Any staff member communicating any message to the judge or circulating any document to the judge;

d) Notes taken down by the judge during the court proceedings; and

e) Notes made by an advocate either on paper or in electronic form for assistance while making submissions to the court.

D. Archiving

1. The audio-visual recording of each day’s proceedings shall be preserved in the Audio-Visual Unit of the Supreme Court Registry;

2. Archives of all broadcasts of courtroom proceedings which have been live-streamed should be made available on the website of the Supreme Court; and

3. Hard copies of the video footage of past proceedings may be made available according to terms and conditions to be notified by the Supreme Court Registry. The video footage shall be made available for the sole purpose of fair and accurate reporting of the judicial proceedings of the Supreme Court.

E. Broadcast Room
1. The Registry will make one or more rooms or a hall available within the premises of the Supreme Court for the purpose of broadcasting the proceedings. Multiple screens along with the other necessary infrastructural facilities shall be installed, for enabling litigants, journalists, interns, visitors and lawyers to view the courtroom proceedings in the broadcast room(s). Special arrangements will be made for the differently abled.

F. Miscellaneous

1. The Supreme Court shall hold exclusive copyright over videos streamed online and archived with the Registry; and

2. Re-use, capture, re-editing or redistribution, or creating derivative works or compiling of the broadcast or video footage, in any form, shall not be permitted except as may be notified in the terms and conditions of use and without the written permission of the Registry.

Simultaneously, he clarified that the model guidelines were of a suggested nature and would not detract from the authority of the Court to frame Rules under Article 145(1) in order to determine all the modalities.

As a result, the Supreme Court allowed the writ petitions with the aforementioned observations and hoped that the relevant rules will be formulated expeditiously and the first phase project executed in right earnest by all concerned. [Swapnil Tripathi v. Supreme Court of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1667, decided on 26-09-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Justice should be administered in an open court”

Supreme Court: In the matter concerning live streaming of court proceedings, the Attorney General KK Venugopal suggested “Guidelines for Live Streaming of Court proceedings in Supreme Court”.

A writ petition was filed seeking a declaration for permitting live streaming of Supreme Court case proceedings of constitutional and national importance having an impact on the public at large and further to frame guidelines for the determination of such cases which are of national and constitutional importance.

The recommendations placed by AG Venugopal were as follows:

  • Live streaming should be introduced as a pilot project in Court No. 1 and only in the Constitution Bench references.
  • Media room should be established on the premises of the court in order to ensure that all persons including journalists, interns, visitors, and lawyers have access to live streaming.
  • Supreme Court in the future may also provide for transcribing facilities and archive the audio-visual record of the proceedings to make the webcast accessible to litigants and interested persons.
  • Recommendations for the safeguarding and limiting of the broadcasting and recording of the proceedings are:
  • Court must have the power to limit, temporarily suspend or disallow filming or broadcasting, if such measures are likely to interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair trial and administration of justice.
  • Guidelines for the determination of proceedings consisting of constitutional and national importance matters.
  • Broadcasting must not be permitted in the cases involving matters such as matrimonial, interests of juveniles, national security, protection of confidential or sensitive information, cases provoking sentiments, etc.
  • The footage of live streaming would be restricted for the purpose of news, current affairs, and educational purposes.
  • Without the proper and prior authorization of the Supreme Court of India, live streaming should not be reproduced, transmitted, uploaded, posted, modified, published or re-published to the public.
  • Unauthorized usage of the live streaming or webcasts will be punishable as an offence under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • Courts may also lay down the rules of coverage.
  • Case management techniques should also be introduced for a speedy manner of disposal.
  • Supreme Court should also lay guidelines for having only two camera angles, one on the judge and the other on the lawyer.

The recommendations were filed by the Attorney General in relation to the petition filed by advocate-activist Indira Jaising. [Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court, WP(C) No. 66 of 2016, dated 24-08-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar and Dr DY Chandrachud JJ., received suggestions from the Attorney General KK Venugopal on the matter regarding the proposal of live streaming of court proceedings being the “need of the hour”.

Attorney General KK Venugopal stated that video recording and live streaming of judicial proceedings can be undertaken on a trial basis in constitutional matters being heard by the Chief Justice of India’s court. Live streaming can be undertaken on an experimental basis for one-three months to ascertain how it functions technologically.

Venugopal would further collate all the suggestions coming up for the said matter and present them to the Court.

Further, the bench of the Supreme Court listed the said matter for further hearing on 30-07-2018.

[Source: PTI]