Published on: September 16, 2022 at 20:55 IST
In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, UU Lalit, and his fellow judges, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising requests that the Supreme Court’s Constitution Benches hearings be live broadcast because it is a fundamental right of every person to have access to information.
Jaising stated in her letter that the Supreme Court is debating, discussing, and making decisions on matters of critical national concern.
In her letter, the Senior Advocate gave examples of the issues that the Constitution benches were debating, citing, for example, the case challenging the constitutional validity of the 103rd Amendment, in which the arguments centered on issues of social and political justice for oppressed castes and whether reservations in public employment and education could be made solely on the basis of economics.
She also provided examples of issues pertaining to the legality of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955, marital rape, and the restoration of conjugal rights.
“Significant issues about what constitutes equality, substantive equality, discrimination based on caste, sex, religion, and what is secularism will be addressed and decisions which concern the interpretation of the Constitution will be taken by this Hon’ble Court”, she added.
The letter claimed that she had also submitted a writ petition to the court in the case of Indira Jaising vs. Secretary General of Supreme Court and Others, asking for live streaming to be recognised as a component of every citizen’s right to access to justice and freedom of information.
She continued by stating that the Attorney General of India had also appeared, backed up her arguments, and presented the court with certain guidelines, all of which were incorporated into the ruling in Swapnil Tripathi vs. Supreme Court of India.
She stressed in the letter the importance of the situation by writing, “As a senior practicing lawyer and given my own interest in arguments advanced in court in cases of constitutional law, I have a deep interest in observing proceedings in court in real time and when necessary to write about them.”
“There is no substitute for first hand knowledge, especially in the era of what has come to be known as “fake news” and hence, there is an urgent need for real time information.”
She emphasised the Supreme Court’s status as a Court of Record under Article 129 of the Indian Constitution and asked to begin live streaming the proceedings in order to record the arguments made by the attorneys for all parties.
She added that the Court ought to establish its own channel and that, in the interim, it may begin streaming the proceedings on both its website and YouTube.
On Chief Justice of India NV Ramana’s final working day, the proceedings before the ceremonial bench were recently aired live for the general audience. The Supreme Court held its hearings live for the first and only time.