- Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit on Monday assured a litigant that a dedicated platform is being planned to livestream Supreme Court proceedings.
- The Chief Justice’s remarks came a few days after Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, in a similar fashion, spoke in open court about the opening up of a Right to Information (RTI) portal.
- These remarks by the two senior-most judges of the top court provided glimpses of a court edging closer and closer towards complete transparency.
- The move towards transparency can be traced over the past seven years. It, however, started with a big negative in 2015.
- The court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment in 2015.
- But the aftermath of the judgment also saw the court invite public opinion on ways to improve the opaque Collegium system of judicial appointments.
- It received over 11,500 views from the public. The ensuing months saw the Collegium publish its resolutions on the Supreme Court website, a practice that continues still.
- Then came the unprecedented press conference held by four senior-most judges on January 12, 2018 to complain about the “selective” allocation of sensitive cases by successive Chief Justices of India.
- This led to the publication of the first-ever “subject-wise roster” for allocation of cases a month later.
- The same year saw the Supreme Court deliver its judgment agreeing to live-stream its proceedings. But successive Chief Justices remained hesitant to implement its own verdict.
- Recently, a letter from senior advocate Indira Jaising to Chief Justice Lalit, reminding him about the live-streaming judgment, saw a Full Court promptly gather on September 20 and agree to beam the Constitution Bench proceedings live.
- On Monday, Chief Justice Lalit brushed aside apprehensions raised by former BJP leader K.N. Govindacharya, through a writ petition, about the Supreme Court using YouTube as a medium for its webcast.
- “These are the initial stages. We will certainly have our own dedicated platforms,” the Chief Justice said.
- Justice Chandrachud assured advocate Prashant Bhushan last week that efforts were on to establish an RTI portal for submission of petitions online. “This is really valuable,” Justice Chandrachud said.
- The court’s relationship with RTI had not been easy in the past years.
- Its registry had fought tooth and nail in the Delhi High Court and later in appeal in the apex court itself about opening up the Chief Justice of India’s office to the transparency law.
- In 2019, a Constitution Bench settled the issue, declaring that the Office of the Chief Justice of India was a ‘public authority’ under the RTI Act.
- Justice Sanjiv Khanna wrote in the judgment that “transparency and accountability go hand-in-hand”.
Right to Information Act 2005
Bringing Information to the Citizens
- Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.
- It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to provide a– RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens for quick search of information on the details of first Appellate Authorities,PIOs etc. amongst others, besides access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments
Objective of the Right to Information Act :
- The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens,promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government,contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
- It goes without saying that an informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed.
- The Act is a big step towards making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT