SC Allows Live-Streaming of Court Proceedings

The apex court observed that it will bring transparency and serve public interest.

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SC Allows Live-Streaming of Court Proceedings
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The Supreme Court signalled the dawn of a new era on Wednesday, 26 September, by opening its doors for live-streaming of court proceedings. The apex court observed that it will bring transparency and serve public interest, and directed the framing of rules in this regard.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” read a line of the verdict authored by Justice DY Chandrachud, part of a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and including Justice AM Khanwilkar.


Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had earlier said live-streaming could be introduced as a pilot project in the Chief Justice of India's court on matters of constitutional importance and had submitted suggestions on the guidelines for live-streaming of court proceedings.

"We don't perceive any difficulty in live-streaming. Let us first start with it and see how it goes. We are just on a pilot project. We are not ruling out anything and will improve with time. We cannot have everything together," the bench had observed earlier.


Model Guidelines For Broadcasting Proceedings and Events of the SC

The judgment also contained a set of model guidelines, suggested to steer the implementation of the pilot project. The guidelines detail the exceptions to the category of cases that can be live-streamed, the use of appropriate technology, agencies to implement live-streaming and other facets of implementation.

The verdict stated that the guidelines were only of a “suggested nature” and would not interfere with the authority to frame Rules under Article 145(1).

Regarding the types of matters to be live-streamed, the guidelines excluded cases falling under the following categories:

  • Matrimonial matters, including transfer petitions
  • Cases involving sensitive issues as in the nature of sexual assault
  • Matters where children and juveniles are involved, like POCSO cases
  • Where objections are filed by a litigant against live-streaming of a case on any grounds, the final authority on live-streaming the case shall lie with the presiding judge.
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.

Apart from court proceedings, the following events may also be live-streamed in the future:

  • 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
  • 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

Regarding the manner of live-streaming:

  • 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 day
  • 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
  • Live-streaming of the proceedings should be carried out with a delay of two minutes
  • Proceedings shall only be live-streamed during working hours of the court
  • 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
  • Recording of courtroom proceedings shall be done by the Registry with the technical support of National Informatics Centre or any other public/private agency authorised by the Supreme Court or the Ministry of Information and Technology
  • 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’

Technical specification for live-streaming:

  • Live-streaming shall be conducted by the Supreme Court with its own camera-persons or by an authorised agency
  • Cameras should be focussed only on the judges and advocates pleading before the Bench in the matter being live-streamed
  • Cameras shall not film the media and visitors’ galleries
  • 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
  • The following communications shall not be filmed:
  1. Discussions among the judges on the Bench
  2. Any judge giving instructions to the administrative staff of the courtroom
  3. Any staff member communicating any message to the judge or circulating any document to the judge
  4. Notes taken down by the judge during the court proceedings
  5. Notes made by an advocate either on paper or in electronic form for assistance while making submissions to the court

Regarding archiving:

  • The audio-visual recording of each day’s proceedings shall be preserved in the Audio-Visual Unit of the Supreme Court Registry
  • Archives of all broadcasts of courtroom proceedings which have been live-streamed should be made available on the website of the Supreme Court
  • 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.
The Broadcast Room: 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.


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

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Topics:  Supreme Court 

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