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The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday allowed a plea to live stream the final hearings in a case concerning the rights of a Parsi woman who married outside the community to entire the fire temple (The Parsi Zoroastrian Association v Prochy N Mehta and Ors.)
Parsi rules prohibit persons who marry outside the community to enter the fire temple, the place of worship for Parsis. The main petition before the High Court has been filed seeking the Court’s approval to allow a woman who married outside the community, and her children, entry into the fire temple. The petition was filed against the Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaram Trust and the Parsi Zoroastrian Association of Kolkata.
A plea was subsequently made by the Zoroastrian Association to live stream the proceedings in the case. The Court allowed the plea after taking note of submissions that the case is likely to have ramifications across India.
It was submitted by organisation that its members also wished to vicariously take part in the proceedings by viewing the same, since all of them could not possibly attend the Court.
In response, Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Kaushik Chanda, have allowed the plea, subject to practical constraints that may arise. The order states,"
"... leave is granted to the appellant in APO No.43 of 2019 to make arrangements for live streaming of the proceedings before the trial court at its cost, subject to the directions of the relevant Bench. In the event, however, the relevant Bench feels that it may be impracticable or otherwise not feasible, the live streaming may not be conducted, subject to the right of the appellant herein to question the propriety of the order in accordance with law."
Calcutta High Court
As stated above, the Court has directed that the costs of streaming the proceedings would be borne by the Association. The Association has been directed to get in touch with the concerned High Court Registrars to discern the equipment required to carry out the live-streaming.
The Court clarified that the live-streaming will only be with respect to the "effective hearings in course of the final hearing of the originating summons and not of any interlocutory proceedings."
The proceedings are expected to be live streamed on YouTube, through two cameras that have been suggested to be installed in the court. The main petition will be heard by Justice Debangshu Basak.
The High Court's decision to allow the live-streaming marks a significant first. In September 2018, a three Judge Bench of then Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had allowed the live streaming of cases of Constitutional importance that take place in the Court of the Chief Justice of India.
However, the the Supreme Court has been slow to implement the directive, with a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra even observing that judicial orders cannot be passed to compel the administrative wing of the Supreme Court to act on the project expeditiously.
[Read the Order]