The Sikkim High Court on Thursday rejected a plea for live telecast and video recording of the court proceedings of a writ petition.
The single-bench court of Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan in an order said the application seeking live telecast and video recording of the court proceedings “does not merit any further consideration”.
The petitioners in the case were Sri Guru Singh Sabha, a society, registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961 and one Amritpal Singh Khalsa.
The respondents in the writ petition were the State of Sikkim; District Collector, North Sikkim; Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chungthang; Lachen Dzumsa, Lachen and the PCCF-cum-secretary, Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim.
The order said “the Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathy (supra) has categorically stated that live streaming of Court proceedings is recommended only as a pilot project for Court Room No.1 and only on Constitutional Bench references”.
The applicants submitted that “Sikhs all over the world are interested in the hearing of the writ petition and there cannot be an issue of more greater importance of public interest or concern than the present case”.
The plea sought further direction upon the Registry/Computer Cell of the Court to cause audio-video recording of the writ proceedings and furnish copies of it for his record.
The court order said: “It is submitted that in sensitive cases which has (sic) the tendency to provoke sentiments and arouse passion and enmity among communities, it (video recording of court proceedings) is not advisable.”
“The present case is a sensitive one from the point of national security as there is every likelihood of provoking enmity between local tribal people living in the border areas of North Sikkim and the Applicant’s community,” it added.
The counsel of 5th respondent, PCCF-cum-secretary, Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, “submitted that there was no requirement for live streaming or video recording of the present proceedings as the Court is an open Court and there has been no restrictions imposed”.
Referring to the apex court’s stand, the order said the “Supreme Court held that publication of Court proceedings of the Supreme Court is a facet of the status of the Supreme Court as a Court of record by virtue of Article 129 of the Constitution and live streaming of Court proceedings in the prescribed digital format would be an affirmation of the constitutional rights bestowed upon the public and the litigants in particular.”
The court said, “As the Applicant has failed to implead the Registry of this Court which was a necessary party, this Court is of the opinion that his Application does not merit any further consideration as no compelling public interest of this particular case to be live streamed immediately.”
“So far as proceedings in the High Court are concerned, the Supreme Court held that the Chief Justices of the High Courts should be commended to consider the adoption of live streaming both in the High Courts and in the district judiciaries in phases, commensurate with available resources and technical support,” the HC order said.
While rejecting the application, the court declared the case stands disposed of accordingly.