Live streaming of Guj HC proceedings comes with riders, violation will invite contempt: Rules

·3-min read

Ahmedabad, Jul 18 (PTI) Live streaming of proceedings of the Gujarat High Court comes with certain restrictions, and violations like copying without authority and using them for any commercial purpose or for 'undue publicity' can invite action under the Contempt of Courts Act, as per the rules.

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday inaugurated the live streaming facility in an online function.

As per the Gujarat High Court (Live Streaming of Court Proceedings) Rules, 2021, live streaming of cases involving matrimonial disputes, offences under sexual assault and POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, those involving children and juveniles, Official Secrets Act, national security, habeas corpus pleas, and those ordered in writing to be conducted in-camera, are barred under the rules.

'The live streaming of the court proceedings is for general information purposes only, aimed to effectuate and broaden the principles of open court, transparency, access to justice and larger public interest' and it is being done with an 'educative and beneficial cause' and cannot be 'sought for as of right by any of the stakeholders.

A copy of the Rules was posted on the Gujarat High Court's website.

The rules restrict live commenting and chats, unauthorised copying of feeds and videos of court proceedings, their use for commercial purposes, and their use as evidence of anything related to the court proceedings.

'The High Court of Gujarat shall hold copyright over live-streamed feed and videos, prohibiting any unauthorised copying of the live feed/ videos,' it says, adding the videos cannot be used for any commercial purpose but they may, however, be used for informational, educational and/or academic purposes.

Such videos 'are not to be considered as part of the case or court record or for reliance by any subordinate court,' the rules said, adding 'Such videos will not be allowed to be treated as evidence of anything relating to the court proceedings and will also not be considered admissible as such, in any court proceedings in the High Court or subordinate courts'.

'No content of the live streamed feed / videos or any observations made therein, will be treated as authorised / certified / official version of anything relating to the court proceedings,' the rules said.

As per the rules, anyone participating in the proceedings has to maintain utmost discipline and decorum for upholding the dignity and majesty of the court.

'Those found misusing the access to the court for'undue publicity through live streaming facility may be muted or removed from video conferencing session, or asked to leave the court if participating in-person. In such a situation, if required, the presiding judge may direct to stop the live streaming of the court proceedings of the particular case for the day,' the rules said.

Violation of any of the provisions will entail proceedings under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and other applicable penal laws.

Any court proceedings conducted through video conferencing as well as physically held court proceedings may be covered for live streaming, and judges may, in their own wisdom, opt not to live stream or may not permit live stream of specific matters with due intimation to the chief justice, the rules said.

After launching the facility virtually, CJI Ramana said the live streaming of court proceedings will remove misconceptions about the justice delivery system and the Supreme Court is keen to make the facility available from at least some of its courts. PTI KA NSK NSK

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