The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and all the High Courts to consider the feasibility of extending CCTV coverage of proceedings in central and state tribunals across the country.
However, the bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit made it clear that it was concerned only with CCTVs in Tribunals at present and not for video/audio recording of court proceedings that is being demanded by the some lawyers to ensure more transparency in disposal of cases.
Hearing a PIL seeking CCTVs and video recording of proceedings, Justice Goel observed that CCTV coverage should be expanded in the wake of various incidents of attacks on witnesses and accused persons even on the court premises in different parts of the country. Recalling one such incident, Justice Goel said an accused was shot dead in broad daylight inside the court premises, but the police personnel, the litigants and advocates present in the court did not testify against the assailants.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the court that there have been several cases of attacks by criminals even on the court premises. The bench said the only further issue to be considered is whether installation of CCTV cameras can be considered in state tribunals and quasi-judicial authorities.
In a brief order the apex court bench said as far as central quasi-judicial authorities are concerned, the Ministry of Law and Justice might consider this aspect within four weeks.
“As far as State Tribunal and State Quasi Judicial Authorities are concerned, we request the high courts to consider this aspect on the administrative/judicial side,” the bench said.
Amicus curiae and senior advocates, Sidharth Luthra and Arun Mohan said that the identity of victims in sexual offences and protected witnesses should be guarded.