CJI terms live streaming as ‘double edged’ sword, advises judges not to get swayed by popular opinion

·2-min read

New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) Batting for “de-mystifying' justice delivery system by live streaming of court proceedings, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana had a word of caution for fellow judges saying such open access may become a “double-edged sword” at times and they cannot afford to lose objectivity and get swayed by “popular opinion”.

The CJI, while speaking at the formal launch of live court proceedings at Gujarat High Court on Saturday, was of the view that citizens are bestowed with the right to know which can be furthered by allowing them access to courts’ proceedings as a representative democracy can survive and evolve only on the back of an informed citizenry.

“Although a step in the right direction, one must tread the path with caution. At times, live streaming of proceedings may become a double-edged sword. However, judges might feel the pressure of public scrutiny, which may ultimately result in a stressful environment that may not be conducive to justice dispensation.

'A judge must remember, even if justice commands standing up against the popular perception, he must do so out of his commitment to the oath he took under the Constitution. A judge cannot be swayed by popular opinion,” he said in the programme conducted virtually.

Listing out some of the disadvantages of live streaming, Justice Ramana said that with increased public gaze, a judge might become a subject of multiple debates, which should never deter him from his duty to protect the right of one against the might of many.

“Always remember, as a repository of peoples' faith, a judge cannot afford to lose objectivity,” he added.

He also flagged issues like the privacy of the citizens and security of litigants and specially key witnesses as areas of concern.

“Another aspect that must be taken into consideration is the privacy of the parties involved and ensure the safety and security of the victims and witnesses.

'Therefore, it is imperative to carefully calibrate the Rules governing such live-streaming by keeping in view the competing interests,” he said.

He also had a word of caution for lawyers and advised them against going after publicity.

“Similarly, with the increasing access, lawyers should not go after publicity, rather they must ensure to put in all possible efforts to protect the best interests of clients. They must always uphold and maintain the dignity of the profession,” he said. PTI ADS SJK SJK RT RT

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