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Will court videos soon be reality? DHCBA to take up issue with judges, ministry after summer

The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) will meet the law ministry and Delhi high court judges after court reopens post summer vacations, to push for rules allowing video recording of court proceedings in Delhi.

DHCBA president Rajiv Khosla said: “We will pick up this issue with the high court and the government also. Many judges are not interested but were saying that it is open court. Everybody has a right to know what a lawyer has argued [in court]. [Court recording] is a fair system, it is a very good idea. Why should anyone be scared of recording? It is open court, everybody has a right to know what the lawyer knows.”

“We will be discussing this issue in July or August. We will hold a meeting of senior lawyers, and pass a resolution after discussing with senior lawyers. Those who are saying that this is not good we also want to hear their views. I think it is good but we have to hear views of everybody and come out with a fool proof system.

“We deliberately do not want to undermine [the judges’] authority but also want to show that judges are not above law. When [recording of proceedings] is done in the parliament also, why not in courts?” he added.

Khosla won the DHCBA elections in March after putting up a fight in court against his predecessor senior advocate AS Chandhiok, who had brought into force new rules debarring him from contesting or voting in the DHCBA polls.

Enter Deepak Khosla

The law ministry in Delhi has already mooted a proposal to amend the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in order to enable video recording of court proceedings, on the basis of a writ praying for the amendments by Delhi advocate Deepak Khosla.

Deepak Khosla has fought a long-running battle, including an audio-recorded verbal altercation with a judge on the subject and having being sent for a mental health evaluation by a Delhi high court judge whom he had filmed during court proceedings, and has been calling for a DHCBA meeting on the issue since last week in long-running and at times acrimonious email exchanges.

Khosla wrote in a 14 May email sent to all current DHCBA office bearers and copied in to a number of journalists and others: “Yesterday, I have forwarded to Mr [Rakesh] Tiku [senior advocate] […] the binder that contains a lot of interesting material that proves that there is, in actual fact, no law barring any person from unobtrusively recording the court’s proceedings. I am scanning and sending that binder to all separately.”

Khosla argued that the only law prohibiting recording was Section 20(d) of the Mediation and Conciliation Rules, which proved, according to Khosla, that since rules for other proceedings are silent, there is no bar.

“I request for an early joint meeting of the concerned Members of the DHCBA, so that I can better explain the significance of the various orders, documents, etc attached in that binder,” he said. “In support of that position (i.e. that there is no law which bars this), I already have formal approval of ADJ Mr. Sandeep Yadav (by way of a judicial order) to record my proceedings. His order dated 15-03-2014 is attached, please see its last page, para 7. In addition, District Judge RK Gauba has consented in the presence of 7 lawyers, and which consent has been placed on formal record by way of a letter way back in February 2014, a letter whose contents he has not rebutted (its in that binder).”

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