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For first time ever a video camera records proceedings in a HC as Deepak Khosla appears before Cal Justice Aniruddha Bose

Justice Aniruddha Bose created history today when Calcutta high court room 24, outfitted with a permanent video camera and microphone for the occasion, recorded the proceedings of advocate Deepak Khosla, which Khosla claims is the first time this has happened in a high court.

“The value of it was that everyone was a good boy in the court room [today],” said Khosla about the presence of a camera in the 45-minute hearing, having appeared for his client Nirmaljit Singh Hoon in a complex and long-running dispute, today with the liquidators of Angelo Brothers.

Khosla claimed that there was an “unbelievable change in the demeanor” of the advocates appearing and said that “credit” and a “hats off” should be given to Justice Bose for making the historic change in his courtroom.

“There was no heckling, no obstructions, no obstructive arguments. In India the problem is that any lawyer can deny what happened in a court room but with the proceedings being recorded they had to behave,” he said. “There were about six or seven advocates in the matter – earlier anyone would just start standing up and singing a duet or triplet, now everyone stands up and seeks permission.”

Khosla's altercation in May with opposing counsel, including Khaitan & Co lawyers and briefed advocates in a related matter, had prompted Bose to acceded to Khosla's request for video recording of future hearings, as reported by Legally India last month.

Bose became an advocate in 1985 and was elevated to the bench as a permanent judge of the Calcutta high court in January 2004. In 2014 Bose had made headlines after allowing video conference evidence to be provided by Dr Saha, who later won the landmark case of medical negligence in the Supreme Court.

Khosla said that Bose ordered that copy of the recording would not form part of the official record of the court. “It's going to be under lock and key and he said that it will not be treated as the official record of the court, as far as copies are concerned. Because if it was, then anyone could get a certified copy. The copy can only be obtained by order of the court.”

The consent of all lawyers present was taken today about recording taking place. “If two or three hearings were held and no one has a grievance about it [a camera] affecting their performance, people will start asking for it [recording of proceedings]. What's the harm?”

“I'm going to start using this order for requesting it in Delhi,” Khosla added. He has been on a multi-year mission to allow recording in court, which has seen him face contempt and opprobrium from the court, which was part of the reason why in January Delhi high court Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva blacklisted Khosla from appearing before it without another counsel present.

Khosla said that his appeal before a Delhi high court division bench of justices Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma would come up this Monday.

Asked about the experience of today's recording itself, Khosla said it was very good. There were some issues with the audio quality because the fans running in the court were very loud, and so there was a constant hum in the audio background. But that problem would be sorted out in the next hearing, according to Khosla. “Frankly the video is not so important,” he noted. “The key is audio - in some extreme situations you might also want to review video, but in 90 to 95 per cent of cases, the importance is audio.”

Tomorrow's Calcutta high court hearing for the same client, this time opposite Khaitan & Co, would also be video recorded, said Khosla.

Photo by Popperipopp

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