Justice Jasti Chelameswar uses mic, will other Supreme Court judges take a cue?
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Justice Jasti Chelameswar uses mic, will other Supreme Court judges take a cue?

Murali Krishnan

Two years ago, I had penned a piece on non-use of microphones in court rooms by judges of Supreme Court of India.

Nothing seemed to have changed two years down the line. The money spent on procurement and maintenance of these devices, however little it may have been, was and continues to go waste as judges refrain from using them.

Though not a big problem is smaller court rooms, the issue is of concern in larger court rooms like the Chief Justice court and court rooms 6 and 7, where judges can hardly be heard at the far end of the court rooms.

The problem accentuates during pronouncement of orders and judgements as the judges usually dictate the order for the lawyers standing in the front row while the rest in the court room struggle to figure out what is murmured.

There are, of course, judges, who have quite a loud voice and are audible even at the back but the opposite is also quite true.

Many a time, even the lawyers involved in the matter and standing in the front row are unable to hear the judges and are forced to rely on the court clerk, or wait for the order to be published on the Supreme Court website.

The journalists who don’t have access to the front portions of the court are also affected by this and it often leads to misreporting.

It was, therefore, a welcome change when I stepped into court room 4 today to find Justice Jasti Chelameswar talking into the microphone during the hearing of a case.

Unlike few other judges who have the mic switched on but don’t speak into it (thereby rendering the whole exercise moot), Justice Chelameswar was clearly speaking into the mic today. Whether he will continue this trend though remains to be seen.

The reactions of lawyers to a tweet regarding the same were mixed.

The demand for video and audio recording of court proceedings has gotten stronger in recent times. In 2014, the Supreme Court e-committee had rejected a proposal by the government to record proceedings in subordinate courts.

However, Calcutta High Court had set an interesting precedent by allowing advocate Deepak Khosla to video record the proceedings in a case pending before it.

The judge, Justice Aniruddha Bose, has passed the order while making it clear that the proceedings being recorded shall not form part of the official records of this Court.

Whether the Supreme Court judges would initiate a change by using mics, it remains to be seen.

Image taken from here

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