Criminal Trial Abuzz @ Twitter: A Study on the Impact of Live Tweeting of Court Proceedings on Fair Trial Rights
02 Nirma University Law Journal: Volume-6, Issue-2, December-2018
19 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 26, 2019
The accused has a right to fair trial under Article 21. This right includes a right to be considered as innocent until proven guilty. This is usually hampered by open courts which permit the media to cover trials. The same is subject to checks and balances under the Contempt of Courts Act, Article19 (2) of the Constitution of India, and the Code of Criminal Procedure. However it is possible to protect the rights of both the media and the parties by adopting proactive regulations as was done during proceedings in the Nirbhaya rape case. The Courts in the past have adopted a negative view of the right of the media to report court proceedings and enjoy wide discretions, but are silent on the rights of media on blogging and tweeting. Since advocates are permitted to bring phones inside the courtrooms, tweeting of court proceedings is a reality in India but free of any regulations. It is moreover subject to the discretion of the judge on whether to treat such reporting as a matter of contempt. This makes the practice lawful yet illicit. This paper thus recognizes need to look outwards on other approaches of including twitter in our legal framework. It further endorses that the courts of India adopt regulations on the rights of the media to use twitter and the procedure, which must be followed. These may be along the lines of the Media Correspondent Accreditation Guidelines of the Supreme Court.
Keywords: tweeting, courtroom, media, proceeding, regulation
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