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Oral remarks part of judicial process, help create accountability: SC

Stock photo: Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 3 (MNN) The Supreme Court said on Monday that oral observations made during hearings were a part of the judicial process and that combined with media reporting on such remarks created accountability.

The court stand came while hearing a plea by the Election Commission of India, which was stung by the oral observations made by the Madras High Court while hearing a case on vote-counting arrangements in Tamil Nadu and subsequent media reports on the issue.

The apex court maintained that observations by the court led to setting the parameters of discussions and hence could not interfere with the oral observations made by the High Courts.

“We have to protect the judicial sanctity of the process and ensure that High Court Judges and Chief Justices are independent to air their views. We have to make sure that media reports everything that happens in courts so that judges conduct the proceedings with dignity,” a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah remarked.

The Supreme Court asserted that many a times judges made oral observations in the larger public interest in order to ensure that things were set right.

The apex court said taking a long-term perspective, it did not wish to discourage the High Courts since they are vital pillars of democracy.

The High Court had on April 30 held the ECI responsible for the current COVID-19 situation in India and said that its officials should be booked on murder charge for failure to make public comply with COVID-19 protocols during campaigning.

The ECI had pleaded the High Court to order the media to report only on court orders or judgments and refrain from reporting on oral observations made during proceedings.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said that his client ECI was pained by the High Court remarks.

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