The Centre on Tuesday, 23 August, opposed a plea by members of the LGBTQIA+ community seeking live streaming of Delhi High Court proceedings on a batch of petitions to recognise same-sex marriage under various laws.
The Centre said in the recent past, there have been cases where even in matters which were not fully “live-streamed”, there has been “serious unrest” caused and “wild and unnecessary” allegations have been levelled against sitting judges of the Supreme Court.
“It is well known that judges cannot really defend themselves in public fora and their views/opinions are expressed in the judicial pronouncements,” the Centre said in a fresh affidavit.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad is likely to hear the matter on Wednesday, 24 August.
'To Maintain Solemnity & Dignity'
The high court had earlier expressed displeasure over the filing of an affidavit by the Centre opposing the live-streaming plea as it contained certain alleged objectionable words.
In the fresh affidavit, the Centre said that proceedings like the present one are likely to be extremely charged and will involve passionate arguments from both sides and certain arguments/comments from either lawyer or the bench may likely evoke sharp and unwanted reactions.
“Such reactions may find vent either in social media or may even transgress from virtual media into the real lives of the people involved. It is also a possibility that such live streaming may be edited/morphed and the entire sanctity of the same may be lost," the Centre further said.
“To maintain the solemnity, dignity, and seriousness of court proceedings, particularly in matters such as the present one wherein sharp ideological schisms may be present, it may be advisable that the proceedings not be telecast live,” it added.
Same-Sex Marriage Plea
The high court has been hearing a batch of petitions filed by several same-sex couples seeking a declaration recognising their marriages under the Special Marriage Act, the Hindu Marriage Act, and the Foreign Marriage Act. A total of eight petitions have been filed in the high court on the issue.
The application for live-streaming of proceedings was filed in the pending petition of Abhijit Iyer Mitra by Akhilesh Godi, Prasad Raj Dandekar, and Shripad Ranade, residents of Karnataka and Mumbai.
It sought direction to the high court registry to make arrangements to live-stream the final arguments of this case via YouTube or any other platform.
The Centre had also opposed the application for live-streaming earlier and sought its dismissal, saying that the matter is not of national importance and that the applicants were attempting to create a dramatic impression of the proceedings before the court to win sympathy.