Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Thursday launched a mobile app to give media access to the top court’s proceedings without requiring them to come to the court.
He said he was also "actively considering" live streaming of the apex court's proceedings after consulting other judges, especially after experience of over an year of holding court through the video conferencing.
His brief stint as a reporter in a Telugu newspaper before embarking on the legal profession gave him first-hand taste of the challenges the media faces in dissemination of information, he said. "At that time, we did not have cars or bikes. Newspaper managements discouraged us from accepting any conveyance from organisers of events. Thus, I too encountered difficulties as a journalist.”
CJI Ramana, however, made it clear that the live streaming of proceedings would be limited to a few courts and that too on a trial basis, as decided in a judgment on September 26, 2018. Mostly these would be cases of constitutional and national importance.
On how the Covid pandemic had hit the judiciary at all levels, the CJI said: "As per the data available, 2768 judicial officers and 106 Judges of the High Court have tested positive. We are yet to receive the data from two major High Courts. 34 Judicial Officers and three Judges of the High Court have lost their lives, battling this pandemic.”
The virtual event for the launch of the mobile application was also attended by Justices D.Y.Chandrachud, A.M.Khanwilkar and Hemant Gupta from their homes.
Justice Chandrachud, who did not attend the hearings on Thursday after he tested Covid positive, is the head of the court's e-committee which put in place the video-conferencing infrastructure in March last year. Justice Khanwilkar, who was also infected, is on the recovery path.
Sharing the information that all six people, who developed the mobile app, are down with Covid but continued the work while remaining confined to their homes, Justice Chandrachud said the new facility will keep all journalists safe as they won't be exposed so much to the outside world. Justices Khanwilkar and Gupta also spoke on the occasion.