September 26, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 22 days ago

India's Supreme Court to test live-streaming of cases

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Supreme Court decided on Wednesday it would start live-streaming some of its cases in a bid to increase transparency and prevent overcrowding in the courtrooms.

FILE PHOTO: A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photo

Indian courts are open to the public but do not allow video recording or broadcasting. A three-judge bench at the Supreme Court, ruling on litigation seeking such a move, said a pilot project would be launched and developed over time.

“Live-streaming of court proceedings is manifestly in public interest,” the court said in its 106-page order.

“It can epitomize transparency, good governance and accountability, and more importantly, open the vista of the court rooms.”

At first, only a few specific cases of constitutional and national importance will be live-streamed, after obtaining consent from the litigants.

Initially the video will be streamed to screens in other areas within the court complex. The plan would later allow live-streaming over the internet.

The court asked the federal government to frame rules for the project, said Shraddha Deshmukh, a government lawyer involved in the case.

Some sensitive cases, such as those related to sexual assault or child abuse, would be excluded, Deshmukh told Reuters.

The measure will also allow litigants to follow some parts of the proceedings from home without having to travel long distances. The Supreme Court had 54,013 pending cases as of May this year, according to data available on its website.

Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Edited by Martin Howell and Robin Pomeroy

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