The Karnataka High Court has temporarily suspended the live-streaming of the court’s proceedings and hearings via video conferencing over cybersecurity issues. The move came after unknown people played obscene videos during live proceedings in different court halls.
The “miscreants” disrupted proceedings by uploading obscene photos and videos during the live streaming of Karnataka High Court proceedings.
Reportedly, the Bengaluru police has registered an FIR under relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 that deals with punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material/material containing sexually explicit acts in electronic form.
Terming the situation as "unfortunate and unprecedented", the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Prasanna B Varale said,
“We are not permitting video conferencing facilities, live streaming facilities. Unfortunately, some mischief is being played. There may be some mischief players. Technology is being misused”.
Further, the Chief Justice requested lawyers to refrain from troubling the staff of the computer section if permission of VC hearing is not granted. In fact, the Karnataka High Court is always in favour of technology being used for court proceedings, aiding advocates and public at large, but due to the current situation, the authorities were forced to take this step “for the betterment of the institution”, the CJ said.
In a separate press note, the court requested lawyers, public litigants/and parties in person to appear physically until the video conference proceedings are restored with new safeguards.
"Since there has been Cyber Security issue in the High Court of Karnataka for about two days while conducting Court Hall proceedings through Video Conference proceedings, namely due to interception to the proceedings by the unknown miscreants, the High Court of Karnataka has decided to suspend the Court Hall proceedings of all the three benches through Video Conference for the time being. Therefore, it is requested that the Advocates, Public Litigants/Party-In-Persons, Media Persons, whoever appears through VC shall opt to appear physically until the VC proceedings are restored with new safe guards. The restoration of the VC proceedings will be informed to the general public shortly."
The High Court's Registrar (Computers), in his complaint stated that when live proceedings were underway on Monday afternoon, some unknown people joined the video conference on Zoom, "misbehaved and played obscene visuals" in video halls 6, 12, 18, 23, 24, 26 among others. The investigation is underway in the matter.
The Court, in 2021, started the live-streaming court proceedings on a trial basis. The inaugural live-stream took place on May 31, that year and was accessible on the Karnataka High Court's official YouTube page. In 2022, the High Court officially announced the Karnataka Rules on Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings.