Video recording of the court proceedings
Paying heed to the Indian Judicial System, we can deduce that it is one of the finest bodies which performs the act of interpreting the constitution. It ensures that no individual residing within the jurisdiction of the country is deprived of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to him by the constitution. The judicial system also due to the nature of the powers delegated to it , performs its duties and takes the required steps ,in case there has been an infringement of a legal right of an individual . The main aim of the judicial system is to see to it that no citizen within territorial boundaries of the country is left without a remedy and seeking proper justice, where he actually ought to.
Having a glance at the court system established in the country, where we have a plethora of judges, litigants, advocates, witnesses appearing on daily basis we can conclude that they are expected to carry out their functions effectively and also be well acquainted with the rules and regulations of the courtroom .Now in order to confirm the same, we can allude to the idea of the video recording of the court proceedings. This concept would play a crucial role in creating awareness among everyone, and would in turn regulate the behaviour of the masses in the profession. Majorly, we can say that video recording of the proceedings would undoubtedly benefit in increasing the transparency in the judicial system. It would also support in strengthening the pillars of faith and confidence among the citizens in the country combating for their rights. Live recording of the entire scenario of the court-room would also curtail the risk of disputes occurring on the various grounds which may beraised by the parties like , during their absence some contentions or facts might not have been taken into proper consideration by the judge while hearing the matter and the order was passed or the advocate would have represented the case in an inappropriate manner . If this ideology is put into practise, the advocates will be under a constant pressure to be truthful and honest while addressing the court . It then, becomes a compulsion for the advocates to make full , fair, true and complete disclosure of all the relevant facts with regard to their case, before the judge .The reason being , feeling of fear having induced in them, of being found guilty of purporting to concoct make believe, imaginary, illusory, artificial cause of action by making false, baseless ,incorrect allegations , statements, pleadings and insinuations, for the greater good of their client. It also becomes an obligation for the advocates to approach the court with clean hands , for if not, they will be held responsible for perpetuating fraud on the court and the same being done with the view to misguide the court.
Also, video recording of the court proceedings will play an indispensable role in governing the conduct of everyone present in the court- room be it the advocates, judges, litigant parties, witnesses etc on the account of, the threat of being captured in the camera eye. It would also serve as a helping hand in eliminating the risk of any sort of allegation which might be imposed on the judge or the advocate on the ground of not being able to carry out their functions efficiently. The judges will also bear in mind that they follow a certain code of conduct being in the fraternity,due to the fear of loss of dignity and respect, and also to escape the risk of being humiliated by the public , to avoid any jeopardy in the near future , and lastly to prevent any unnecessary speculations and media interference with the system . The advocates nor thejudges would tolerate anyone pointing a finger at them and holding them liable for not discharging their duties in an orderly manner , and so if the proceedings are recorded , a clear picture would be projected in front of everyone. The other benefit is that no allegation would be raised on the judges, of being partial, biased to any of the parties appearing before them. It would also serve as an essential source in unravelling the truth.
Speaking from the viewpoint of the litigant parties, a feeling of assurance and security would be generated in their hearts, because if at any chance they happen to remain absent at any particular stage of the suit due to some personal reasons , they can always in order to keep themselves updated and informed and also well prepared for making an appearance in the next stage of the suit, can have a glimpse of the video recording of the previous proceeding. It also is of great importance to the advocates , as when their clients are not able to turn up for the matter, they can ask them to have a look at the video recording , which would help them to decipher the manner in which their concerned advocate is functioning or be it arguing or following up with the matter. By watching the video recording , the litigant parties as well as their advocates can make themselves aware and also focus on the loopholes, ambiguities pointed out by the judge relating to their respective contentions , issues etc so during the next stage they are well armed with the proper knowledge of the facts, issues etc.
Video recording may prove to be a boon for maintaining decorum , discipline and decency in the court room and which in turn would ensure healthy, cordial and amicable relations among everyone in this profession. If this idea is actually incorporated in the judicial system, the advocates, the litigant parties, as well as the judges are bound to show utmost amount of fidelity while practising , raising the bar of the Indian Judiciary System. It would provide an edge to the citizens battling for their rights and also result in speedy justice. Recording of the court room proceedings would be a real shot in the arm to the entire judicial system. Various advocates, judges will start being a little more cautious and aware while carrying out their respective functions.
The copies of the recording should only be made available to the persons who are concerned with the matter. This process would definitely be of great assistance and would also open the doors to the litigant parties trying to seek justice in the courts. It is an absolutely undeniable fact that the courts have always welcomed everyone to come and witness the proceedings and have also given the privilege to observe the manner in which the judicial system of the country functions , take notice of the entire process of how the advocates address the court, their approach towards the judges , the way they argue , and also take cognizance of the grounds on which a judge passes a particular judgement or a decree . But many a times, due to unavoidable circumstances or personal difficulty it might happen that an advocate, or a witness to the suit, or a litigant party is not able to show up on the date on which the matter is called for hearing , so then during such circumstances it would be beneficial for them if they could access to the recording . Being incapable of attending an important matter would leave the advocate or the party a little worried ,and clueless about the way in which they should proceed with the next stage and approach the judge ,or draw his attention to some essential facts in order to get a particular judgment delivered in their favour . Although when a senior advocate or a litigant party is not in a position to be present at a particular stage , the advocate can always question his junior of how the entire proceeding took place and sometimes one can also seek help from the opposite party. But witnessing a proceeding is another ball game altogether, and so here video recording will serve as an efficacious remedy.
Video recording of the proceeding would inculcate the feeling of satisfaction in the eyes of the parties concerned that a fair and accurate trial has taken place which would also elevate the scale of confidence of the public in the judicial system of the country. It would curb down the risk as well as demotivate the witnesses from retracting their statements , that they would have admitted to, at a particular stage of the suit.It would also actively involve scrutinizing and examining carefully, the code of conduct adopted by everyone in the profession including the advocates, the judges, the parties etc and the manner in which they project themselves within the four walls of the court room and thereby in accordance to their respective etiquettes and speech would help them gain a dignified recognition in the public realm. It can actually enable the public to have a bird’s eye view of the procedure and functioning of the legal system.
But at the same time it is important to ensure that the video recording is done with proper precaution and care. It should not only record the statements of the judges and the orders passed by them , but also record the actions and the approach of the advocates and the parties towards the court. It will play an effective role in inducing the feeling of oneness and harmony among all the citizens as well as at the same time instill threat among the criminals and in turn will deter them from indulging into any sort of illegal and anti social activities. Judges, advocates and the litigant parties would be compelled to behave in an appropriate manner, maintain a respectable demeanor, as being aware of the fact of being regularly monitored. Video recording would also provide assistance and support to the judges while passing a particular decree or a judgment in the matters , which were in the initial phase heard by different benches.
There are certain states which do permit video recording of the court proceedings , but at the same time these states do give liberty to the courts to administer certain rules and regulations , and also impose restrictions as they deem fit ( that is , it is completely left upto their discretion), in order to ensure that the status of the courts and the integrity attainted by them in the past years is maintained.
It would help in supervising the conduct of the legal practitioners, which would reduce the allegations imposed on the ground of contempt of court .It would also play a leading role in maintaining a certain sense of, uniformity and order in the courts.It would make way for enhancing the level of discipline in the court rooms. Judges also, would be extremely vigilant and alert while passing a judgement or a decree being aware of the fact that their actions are under constant supervision and a single wrong move could place them in dilemma , and drive their reputation at stake, which they might have attained in the course of practise. Opportunity, may not be given for rectification of their mistakes as the profession holds high amout of dignity and honour. This technique would also help to increase and improve the standards of practise. Lawyers would argue and perform in the courts to the best of their capability and knowledge. Practitioners and the judges would be petrified of being debarred from the profession on the account of lack of sincerity and efficiency in discharging their duties or being found liable for showing any kind of disrespect towards the judicial system, leading to deterioration of the prestige and the respectability of the profession in the eyes of the public. This facility would also cease the denial of the statements put forth by the parties or the witnesses on oath. Ensuring that the recording of the proceedings is made available to the advocates and the judges, is one of the appropriate ways to show that there is fair and open justice for everyone in the society irrespective of their caste, religion , gender etc.
The most important significance of the video recording of the proceedings is that it would enable the concerned parties to see with explicit detail regarding what exactly happened in a particular proceeding ,how the judges actually responded, what were the contentions put forth , what directions were given by the judge etc rather than relying on someone’s memory or notes made by any junior advocate. This technique is also quite beneficial for the judges as immediate access to the recording will be of great support ,as well as help them to make their own notes which they can review at the time , when they have to pass the final order. This method would also provide a guarantee to the litigant parties that , in their absence, they are not being duped by their concerned advocates with the intention of making profit.
For the courts who haven’t yet experienced this , the idea of giving it a shot, might be a daunting cross to bear. There are two sides to every coin.There are many courts all over the world who have already adopted this technique and have been largely benefitted also. But also at the same time if at all, this method is adopted in the Indian Judicial System, it is important to ensure that the equipments installed function properly, there is enough security in the courts to prevent any kind of unnecessary hassle and also that the copies of the recordings are only handed over to the parties involved in the matter..If at all these copies are placed in the hands of any outsider having ulterior motive and malafide intentions to inflict harm and injury on anyone , the same will lead to creating a situation of complete chaos , hatred animosity and outrage. It would also result in leaving the concerned party, advocate or judge traumatized and suffer mental agony.
In Delaware, the state courts permit the utilization of a few cameras or other devices in the courtroom , exceptional case being an event of celebration ,for example when a particular judge is sworn in.
In India, the High Courts are not supportive of the proposals for recording of the court proceedings , and they also don’t believe in giving an approval for any ‘Live Telecast. ’They are of the opinion that video recording might be essential for a particular day , or may be for a particular kind of suit , but they don’t agree when it comes to adopting this method for lifetime.
According to some judges “ What happens in the court, should remain within the four walls of the court- room only, for the law does not permit any act of invasion of privacy.”
8. http://www.iaca.ws/files/FTR Advertorial.pdf
||This article has been Awarded Certificate of Excellence for Original Legal Research work by our Penal of Judges