first_imgTop StoriesReal Time Reporting Of Court Hearing In Social Media Not A Cause Of Apprehension; A Virtual Extension Of ‘Open Court’ : Supreme Court LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK6 May 2021 8:38 AMShare This – xReal-time reporting of court room proceedings in social media is not a cause of apprehension but a virtual extension of the concept of open court, the Supreme Court has held.The Court said that this new-age trend is a “celebration of our constitutional ethos which bolsters the integrity of the judiciary by focusing on its functions”. It held that such real-time reporting is an extension of freedom of speech and expression that media possesses. Social media forums give a wider audience to real-time updates.A division bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah made these significant observations while rejecting a prayer made by the Election Commission of India to stop media from reporting the oral remarks made by judges in a hearing, which do not form part of judicial record. The ECI was aggrieved with oral remarks made by the High Court castigating it for allowing election rallies during the COVID pandemic.Observing that the internet and social media have “refashioned and,in significant ways,revolutionized the means through which information is relayed”, the bench observed :”With the advent of technology, we are seeing reporting proliferate through social media forums which provide real-time updates to a much wider audience. As we have discussed in the previous section, this is an extension of the freedom of speech and expression that the media possesses. This constitutes a ̳virtual’ extension of the open court. This phenomenon is a not a cause of apprehension, but a celebration of our constitutional ethos which bolsters the integrity of the judiciary by focusing attention on its functions”.The 31-page judgment authored by Justice DY Chandrachud acknowledged that the new developments in technology are changing the way court proceedings are also getting reported.”The world is adapting to technology at a pace which is often difficult to catalogue, and many of our citizens are becoming digital natives from a young age. It is understandable that they will look towards modern forms of media, such as social media websites and applications, while consuming the news. This, understandably, would also include information reported about the functioning of courts. Hence, it would do us no good to prevent the new forms of media from reporting on our work”It is better for the Constitutional Authorities to accept this new-reality, than to complain, the Court said.”Acceptance of a new reality is the surest way of adapting to it. Our public constitutional institutions must find better responses than to complain”, the judgment said.The judgment referred to the fact that courts in many foreign countries are live-streaming their proceedings. Even the Gujarat High Court has started to live-stream its hearing in YouTube.”In this backdrop, it would be retrograde for this Court to promote the rule of law and access to justice on one hand, and shield the daily operations of the High Courts and this Court from the media in all its forms, by gagging the reporting of proceedings, on the other”, the Court said.The Supreme Court said that the prayer of ECI to restrain media coverage of court hearings strikes at two fundamental principles guaranteed under the Constitution –open court proceedings; and the fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression.The Court said that there was no question of expunging the oral remarks of the High Court as they are not part of the judicial record. At the same time, the bench added that the remarks made by the High Court were harsh and the metaphor used was inappropriate. The Court advised that the judges should exercise restraint while making off-the-cuff remarks.”The remarks of the High Court were harsh. The metaphor inappropriate. The High Court-if indeed it did make the oral observations which have been alluded to -did not seek to attribute culpability for the COVID-19 pandemic in the country to the EC. What instead it would have intended to do was to urge the EC to ensure stricter compliance of COVID-19 related protocols during elections… All that needs to be clarified is that the oral observations during the course of the hearing have passed with the moment and do not constitute a part of the record. The EC has a track record of being an independent constitutional body which shoulders a significant burden in ensuring the sanctity of electoral democracy. We hope the matter can rest with a sense of balance which we have attempted to bring”, the Court said in the order.Also From the judgment :’Citizens Have Right To Know What Transpires In Judicial Proceedings’ : Supreme Court Upholds Media’s Freedom To Report Court Hearings No Question Of Expunging Judges’ Oral Remarks Which Are Not Part Of Judicial Record : Supreme Court In ECI Case Case DetailsTitle : Election Commission of India v MR Vijaya BhaskarCoram : Justices DY Chandrachud and MR ShahCitation : LL 2021 SC 244Click here to read/download the judgment.TagsSupreme Court Media Reporting #Justice DY Chandrachud #Justice MR Shah #Election Commission of India (ECI) Social Media Next Storylast_img read more