A SINGLE bench judge on Friday referred to a larger bench of the Bombay High Court the matter regarding the necessity of video recording proceedings in cases where the accused have been booked under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On Tuesday, when Justice Sadhana Jadhav had allowed advocates to begin with the arguments in the bail application of accused doctors in the Dr Payal Tadvi death case, she was informed that the proceedings will be video recorded as per the previous orders passed by Justice Dama S Naidu.
Last month, Justice Naidu had directed the HC’s registry department to make arrangements to video record the bail proceedings under the SC/ST Act. Justice Jadhav sought the state government’s view on the issue on Tuesday by directing the advocate general to address the court on the necessity of video recording the proceedings.
On Friday, advocate Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, before commencing arguments on the issue, asked the person who was video recording, whether the audio was also being recorded. The person handling the camera said that he was both video and audio recording the proceedings.
On this, Kumbhakoni said that the person should not have audio recorded the proceedings, because Justice Naidu’s order and the statutory provision has not mentioned audio recording.
Kumbhakoni said that the purpose of video recording is “physical protection” (protecting the witnesses during proceedings) and not to go back to see what had happened during the hearing. He added that there is no provision to audio record the proceedings under the Act.
Kumbhakoni further said that if someone makes a request for a certified copy of the recording, it will not be provided as it is not a document. Even under Right to Information Act, such recordings cannot be asked for as it is not information, he added.
As Kumbhakoni sought the end of audio recording, Justice Jadhav said that since the advocate for Tadvi’s family is not present, she will let it continue. Kumbhakoni went on to object and after hearing arguments, the court referred the matter to a larger bench.