The concept of open court system dates back to 1877 wherein Warren Hastings the governor of West Bengal at that time through a judicial plan came up with the concept of open court in India. It was an historic revolution in the history of judicial system wherein the court proceedings were made available to the general public in the interests of the public at large. The idea behind formulating this concept was to bring transparency in the administration of justice and to make the people aware about the procedures followed by the courts in conducting the proceedings. Open criticism is extended to the trials held in open courts; thus, every appropriate measure is made by the Court the delivery of justice. However, the public does not have access to the court proceeding in matters related to sexual assault, rape etc. where even the name of the victim is not disclosed due to it being a very sensitive in nature. For e.g., the name of the victim in the Nirbhaya gangrape case was not disclosed. The open court proceedings conducted live in the courts cannot be replaced completely by the virtual courts. The following judgement given by the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 17-06-2021 has brought about a major change with respect to the virtual court proceeding being conducted in the present times by giving access to the public to attend to live court proceedings through the links provided on the official website of the High Court and introducing the concept of open courts system in virtual proceedings. Thus bringing the challenge faced in applying the concept of an open court system in the present times to a standstill.
FACTUAL MATRIX OF THE CASE:
- Four Journalists namely Nupur Thapliyal (Legal Correspondent, Live Law), Sparsh Upadhyay (Special Legal Correspondent, Live Law), Areeb Uddin Ahmed (Legal Correspondent of Bar and Bench, and Rahul Dubey (Legal Correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar) questioned the MP Video Conferencing & Audio-Visual Electronic Linkage Rules, 2020 to the extent that the rules do not provide to the public access to the virtual proceedings of the court.
- The administration of the High Court recommended the said court for dismissal of the plea filled by the journalists for it being infructuous in nature and informed the court that the e-committee of the high-court has solved the issue by providing access to the public to virtual proceeding through links on the official website of the court until the rules on the same are finalized.
ANALYSIS OF THE INTERIM ORDER
The High Court disposed of the plea filled by the journalists with the reliefs being sought by journalists in the present case reserving their right to access the proceedings of the court in these present times. However, the court added to the order that the reports generated should be accurate the privacy of the proceedings in certain matters to be maintained.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has brought about a major change with respect to the virtual court proceeding being conducted in the present times by giving access to the public to attend to live court proceedings through the links provided on the official website of the High Court and introducing the concept of open courts system in virtual proceedings. I believe that this revolutionary change brought by the Madhya Pradesh High Court should be adopted by every court in the country in the interests of general public thus preserving their right to access the judicial proceedings of the court and the idea behind the open court system in the country.