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AAP wins Delhi: Somnath Bharti to start court video recording in 20 days; AAP to ‘go through all cases’ in 6 months with double-court shifts

Delhi courts: To be video'd
Delhi courts: To be video'd

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is set to win Delhi in a landslide election, has promised in its manifesto to make available video recordings of court proceedings, while also appointing new judges and running courts in double shifts “if required” in order to “go through all cases within 6 months”.

Pendency would also be tackled by temporarily setting up special courts, the party promised in its manifesto, while also setting up affordable housing for government and lower court lawyers.

With a projected landslide majority, jurisdiction over procedure of the capital’s district and lower courts will be within the purview of the party, making its promise of starting video recordings in Delhi's court a realistic possibility.

Somnath Bharti, who was AAP law minister during the party’s short-lived Delhi term in early 2014, wrote in an email in November 2014:

During my tenure as Law Minister of the State of NCT of Delhi, I have (already) formally approved on file the starting of video-recording of all court proceedings, and also, their live telecast.

The latter has been approved by virtue of proposed (regional) amendment of Sections 153-B of the CPC and 327 of the CrPC, so that it is obligatory for every Court in Delhi to televise its proceedings live.

I am confident that when we come to power, this long-cherished dream of every clean-minded person – of the true ‘Swachh Bharat’ citizen – of every resident of the true ‘Swachh Bharat’ - will be a reality within 15-20 days of our resuming office. (Please: do use this post to remind me – rather, if this does not happen.)

In the AAP’s 2015 manifesto, released late last month, it wrote:

Our country suffers from a defunct judicial system; it often takes up to 15-20 years to deliver justice in a case. Criminals who have committed heinous crimes like murder and rape remain unpunished for years. The Aam Aadmi Party will take the following measures within its jurisdiction to improve the delivery of justice:

1. New courts and new judges will be appointed. If required, the courts will be run in 2 shifts. We will ensure that we have enough courts to go through all cases within 6 months.

2. Court cases remain pending for years. The current government itself is one of the parties in a significant number of cases. The Aam Aadmi Party will ensure that no adjournments are made in cases where the Delhi Government is a litigant.

3. Special courts will temporarily be set up to dispense cases that are pending in lower courts.

4. Proceedings of all court cases will be video-recorded and made available to ordinary citizens.

5. We will make provisions for affordable housing for government counsels and lawyers practising in lower courts. The government will streamline existing government medical schemes to ensure maximum coverage of legal functionaries.

6. Children in Delhi are unsafe. More than 3,500 children were kidnapped last year. A number of legislations exist for the protection of children. We will ensure that laws (like Juvenile Justice Act, POCSO Act) for security of children are enforced.

Video recording is common in many lower courts in the USA; the US Supreme Court has to date resisted attempts to video record its proceedings though it allows audio recording.

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