Legal journalists Areeb Uddin Ahmed and Sparsh Upadhyay, along with three law students, have initiated a public interest litigation in the Allahabad High Court, asking permission to live-stream and live-report court proceedings throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh, including the High Courts, Tribunals, and Subordinate Courts.
To secure access to digital or actual hearings and write on them as they unfold, the plea cited the fundamental right to press, which is part of the right to freedom of expression and is an explicit attribute of Article 19(1) (a) of the Indian Constitution.
Owing to virtual trials being convened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, legal journalists and law students have been unable to witness court proceedings, according to the petition. The petitioners cited the case of Swapnil Tripathi & Ors. v. Supreme Court of India in which the Supreme Court resolved to live-stream court hearings for the greater good of the public. The plea claimed expressly that live-streaming and live-reporting of Court cases would enable such access and align VC hearings with the “Open Justice” concept.
Making reference to the Supreme Court’s and Gujarat High Court’s dedicated media rooms, the petitioners pleaded that a similar set up, combined with the requisite technologies and facilities, be established in Allahabad High Court to guarantee that all individuals can access the physical and virtual proceedings of cases and that the public, including journalists, should be able to effectively access Virtual Courts via VC links, which could be published on the High Court website or included with each day’s Causelist.