Judiciary is one of the Four pillars of our Indian Democracy. Judges ad Advocates are there to maintain it’s pride and dignity while delivering, for Judges, and while aiding to deliver, for Advocates, justice to the nation. It is not cloaked with general public that they remain in shade to serve justice and keep themselves away from any kind of publicity and social gathering just to maintain the decorum of the profession and also to preclude themselves from engaging in any kind of controversies.
During outbreak of pandemic, nation was halted with full lockdown, imposed by the central government. This lockdown severely effects all dimensions of the nation, legal profession remains no exception. Since Courts were closed, there could be no chance of Physical Proceedings. Justice-Delivery System was halted. There were people for their disputes to be resolved, work load was increasing but noting could had been done. After a few months, Supreme Courts virtual proceedings for considering only urgent matters and in July the court constituted it’s virtual constitution bench. Later in August, Punjab & Haryana High Court became the first high court after launching it’s first virtual court at Faridabad, and this methodology of delivering judgements through virtual courts was adopted by rest of the nation.
But, these proceedings were kept private from the reach of general public, unlike physical courts where public can attend and view the proceedings of the court notwithstanding that there were not the parties in dispute. This issue was also resolved when Gujarat high court became the first court to live stream it’s case proceedings.
However, this idea of live proceedings brings out threat to the privacy of clients, to the dignity of the legal professionals by way of comments. People would get more chances to lure client and judges by questioning their ratio decidendi pronounced therein. But the advantages of these virtual courts and live proceeding would be available more to those people, earlier who were not in reach of judicial system, can now get their case filed and also can attend the proceedings by way of virtual mediums.
The Chief-Justice of India N.V. Ramana while gracing the occasion to launch live streaming of Gujarat High Court, in his speech stressed upon the of Live Streaming of Court proceedings. He said Live streaming is important for the dissemination of information as a part of Article 19 of the Constitution. Whether on not people are interested in a particular case, live streaming adds to transparency. Live Streaming is a necessity now. Even after the pandemic ends, Live streaming would demystify court proceedings for court proceedings and will convey the message that courts are for the people. He further added, Lack of direct access could give space for misconception and so Live streaming is the best remedy for it. Judges should never shy away from public duty. Lawyers should always uphold and maintain the dignity of the profession and the identities of parties also must be kept in mind, their privacy is also.
However, this misconception that these virtual courts are to replace physical courts was cleared by Justice DY Chandrachud. He said the idea behind virtual court system was not to replace physical courts, but, instead, to show the “flexibility” of the Indian judicial system to ensure that access to justice was not denied even during the hardest of times.
In the days of pandemic, our judicial system has proved that it can opt any way apt to deliver the justice, be it’s physical hearing or virtual courts, when the physical courts are not in reach of people. And to maintain transparency the idea of live streaming was appreciable. However the idea behind these virtual courts was never to replace the well-established and traditional practice of law through physical courts.