Government Law College in Ernakulam to be 1st in India to stream court proceedings on campus

The Assembly building of the erstwhile Cochin state will be used to live-stream the proceedings of the Supreme Court and the high court.

BySreerag PS

Published Mar 17, 2023 | 3:34 PMUpdated Mar 17, 2023 | 6:24 PM

The Government Law College in Ernakulam. (Creative Commons)

In a pioneering step in legal education in the country, the Government Law College in Ernakulam is set to become the first law college in the country to live-stream Supreme Court and high court proceedings on campus.

The inauguration of the event will be held on Saturday, 18 March, and the streaming will be open for students from Monday.

“The live-streaming of the Supreme Court and high court proceedings on campus is a milestone in the pursuit of engaging technology to augment the quality and deliverance of the output of legal education,” read a brochure published by the institute in connection with the inauguration event.

The feat is being accomplished with the sponsorship of Musthafa & Almana, a law and consulting firm based in Dubai co-founded by advocates Musthafa Zafeer and Almana Zafeer, who are alumni of the college.

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A platform for students: Principal

The college’s Principal Bindu M Nambiar told South First: “We are the first law college in the country to start live-streaming on the campus. Our main intention is to provide students with the opportunity to witness court procedures.”

She said students have moot courts, court visits, and chamber visits as practical components of their course.

However, as it is difficult for all the students from the campus to travel to New Delhi and visit the Supreme Court, the new opportunity will help students witness the proceedings.

“We are one of India’s oldest law colleges, but we have limitations as a public educational institution. This was possible through the sponsorship of our alumni Musthafa and Almana. Now we will have the opportunity to provide a platform for students to watch all the important cases in the Supreme Court,” Nambiar said.

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SC decision on streaming

In September 2022, the Supreme Court decided to live-stream all proceedings of its constitutional bench.

The court decision came four years after Justices Deepak Mishra, DY Chandrachud, and AM Khanwilkar held that the streaming of court proceedings was in the interest of the public and would lead to strengthening constitutional values.

Swapnil Tripathi, who was a final-year student at the National Law University in Jodhpur, was the petitioner in the case. He sought to make court proceedings accessible to students. Later, senior advocate Indira Jaising too filed a petition in this regard.

In September 2022, Jaising wrote a letter to the then Chief Justice of India UU Lalit seeking to immediately commence the streaming of the proceedings.

How streaming will help

Giri Sankar, a teaching faculty at the Government Law College in Ernakulam, told South First that the Supreme Court order opened the doors for the public in general and law students in particular to access the justice delivery process.

“Even five-six months after the Supreme Court decision, none of the law universities or law schools implemented it. Although we are a traditional college and do not belong to the new crop of law schools, we took the pioneering step,” said Sankar.

“For example, at the moment, the Shiv Sena defection issues are being heard by the constitution bench in the Supreme Court,” he pointed out.

“There are numerous constraints for public education institutions, but our former students showed interest and came on board to provide the infrastructure,” he added.

He told South First that the central Assembly hall of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin would be utilised for the streaming as it can host a good number of students.

Legislative Assembly building of the erstwhile Cochin state. (Supplied)

“Our added advantage is that if the constitution bench is not sitting, we will be streaming the proceedings from Parliament or the state Assembly,” said Sankar.

“Students can learn the legal process when the court is sitting and the legislative process when the legislature is sitting. We will also be screening law lectures from the archives. Altogether, it will be a wonderful experience for everyone,” he added.

Sankar also hoped that proceedings would gradually be streamed by the lower courts as well, as the technology was slowly being engaged in the justice delivery process.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students and I am sure other law schools will soon follow suit,” he said

About Government Law College, Ernakulam

The Government Law College in Ernakulam, also known as His Highness Maharaja’s Law College, was established in 1874. It is the oldest law college in Kerala, and will be celebrating its 150th year of inception next year.

The college offers five-year and three-year LLB degree programmes and LLM programmes instructed in two branches — Commercial Law and Criminal Law.

The college is recognised by the Bar Council of India and is also considered a Research Centre in Law. It is affiliated with the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam.

Among the noted alumni of the college are former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, Justice KM Joseph, former Kerala chief ministers AK Antony and Oommen Chandy, former minister KR Gowri Amma, and actor Mammootty.