Supreme Court permits the installation of CCTV Cameras in courtrooms

In the past years many PILs have been filed in order to install cctv cameras of the proceedings but all were sacked by the court even though Law Commissions had made recommendations supporting audio-video recording.

Finally the Supreme court has permitted setting up of CCTV cameras without audio recording to record proceedings, in at least two districts in all states and union territories.

In an unprecedented order by the apex court, a bench of Justices Uday U Lalit and Adarsh K Goel directed 24 HC athwart the country to assure that district and sessions courts have CCTV cameras in the court precincts and inside courtrooms within three months. The bench said exempted the small states and union territories where the high court felt that installation of CCTV cameras was not possible

"The report of such experiment be submitted within one month of such installation by registrar generals of the respective high courts to the secretary general of the Supreme Court who may have it tabulated and place it before us," ordered a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit.

However, the SC barred access to the video footage to lawyers, litigants, and the general public through the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The bench stated that "We may make it clear that footage of the CCTV cameras will not be available under the RTI Act and will not be supplied to anyone without the permission of the concerned high court. Installation may be completed within three months from today.”

The bench entrusted the HC with regulating the establishment of cameras and their working while District and Sessions Judges, who is the authoritative head of courts in a specific area, have been made a request to see the court procedures in his or her chambers.

The request has taken a few rounds of consultations between the Central government and the top legal on the issue of sound video recording of court procedures. Since August 2013, Union Law Ministers have kept in touch with the then Chief Justices of India in any event thrice to consider recording the court procedures in light of a legitimate concern for straightforwardness and better case administration.

The Centre in its affidavit stated that audio-video recording of court proceedings could contribute to the transparency of court processes and better case management. The SC bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 9 when it will examine the report on the installation of CCTVs in trial courts.


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