Read the full speech of Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana:
Today is an important day as we celebrate the 101st birthday of the legendary Judge YV Chandrachud, former Chief Justice of India. I pay my humble tribute to his memory. Democracy is about the people. The people of India have the right to know under the Constitution which includes knowledge of the institutions that serve them. One way to promote this right is to give people access to the functioning of these institutions. The goal is to keep the public informed. Only on the back of an informed citizenry can a representative democracy survive and evolve.
The Constitutional Courts of our country, the largest democratic republic in the world, are the guardians of the Constitutional Mandate. In order for public confidence and faith to reach new heights, it is imperative for us to widen the gates of justice. I say broaden, because traditionally the courts have always been open. Since their inception, from the filing of a complaint to the delivery of the judgment, every procedure of the Court has been based on the idea of transparency. Cases have always been heard in public courtrooms, with access not only to lawyers and litigants in a particular case, but also to the public. The only restrictions ever imposed were for space and security considerations. Recently, the pandemic has forced us to impose new restrictions.
However, the harsher realities of poverty, social inequality, lack of awareness, cost, distance and time made it difficult for some of the population to actively participate in legal proceedings.
The truth is that, even after 74 years of independence, there are still multiple misconceptions in the minds of the public regarding the administration of justice. These prevailing views and misconceptions ultimately hinder access to justice, as they can discourage people from seeking redress for their rights. It is high time to demystify the country’s justice system and promote access through open courts. Access to justice will become a real reality when litigants and stakeholders can witness, understand and understand justice firsthand.
It should be noted that not all cases may be of interest to the public. People may only want to follow the arguments of the lawyers and the comments of the court in certain cases, such as when it comes to constitutional interpretation or to attract the attention of the public. Currently, the public obtains information about legal proceedings through the media. In fact, the courts’ information is filtered by agents of transfer. In the process, there is sometimes a transmission loss, leading to a misinterpretation of the bank’s questions and observations, due to lack of context. Vested interests are only too happy to amplify these misinterpretations in order to embarrass or discredit the institution.
It is precisely this lack of direct access that leaves room for misconceptions. The formalization of live streaming of court proceedings is the best remedy for the above-mentioned ailment.