Information accessed under the RTI Act has revealed that Rs 91.96 lakh of taxpayers’ money was spent on “replacing” microphone systems in the Supreme Court which are rarely used by the judges. “Why don’t the judges use the mics in front of them,” is a question frequently heard in the Supreme Court where litigants, journalists ad law interns often struggle to decipher the questions posed by the judges to lawyers.
“The mic system is an inherent part of the courtroom infrastructure and has been in existence since the time of its inception…,” the additional registrar and central public information officer of the Supreme Court said in his reply to the RTI application, adding that the system “was replaced in two phases, one for courts 1 to 5 and registrar courts 1 and 2. The expenses incurred were Rs 38,79,627 only, and the second phase for court no. 6 to 15. The expenses incurred were Rs 53,16,232 only.”
The plea was filed by a law student Kapildeep Agarwal and advocates Kumar Shanu and Paras Jain, who are part of a rights group Whistle for Public Interest.
They had also written to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, urging him to ensure that the microphones which are already installed are put to use.
The letter recounted the difficulties they faced as law interns and said “a situation like this completely frustrates the purpose of court internships. This could have easily been avoided with the use of already installed mic system in the court rooms.”
Initially, they thought that the problem was limited to law interns, but realised it was not so when they faced similar difficulty as litigants, the letter to the CJI said.
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