The Madras High Court division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam recently issued a notice subsequent to a writ petition filed by PhD researcher Anusha Hariharan challenging the current entry restriction of the general public into court premises.
Earlier this month, a representation was made raising the concerns regarding entry of general public into court premises before the court registry which has not responded, subsequently, the present petition was moved before the High Court.
The alleged petition claims that the restriction imposed upon the general public while allowing only litigants, lawyers, media personnel etc to enter into the court premises is unconstitutional and contrary to Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and Rules to Regulate proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution and it also violates the principle of open justice.
In the petition, Hariharan contended that, “The grievance is the arbitrary bar imposed on the entry of public into the Hon'ble Court, which is inter alia contrary to Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), 21 of the Constitution of India, Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) and Section 153-B of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC), Rule 6 of the Rules to Regulate proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution and the principle of open justice, which is the foundation of our legal system and the principle that justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.“
Pertinently, Articles 14, 19 and 21 are the Fundamental Rights, Section 327 CrPC deals with the provision that declares criminal courts to be open, Section 153-B CPC declares that the place of trial is deemed to be open court, Rule 6 of the Article 226 Proceeding Rules allows persons to present their views opposing petitions in the High Court.
Hariharan pleads that “Ordinarily, courts are meant to be open to the public unless restricted by the space constraints or because a particular judge orders an in-camera trial.”
In the petition, Hariharan has prayed before the court to issue a writ of mandamus directing the concerned authorities to permit the entry of the general public into the Court premises.
The Court put up the matter for the hearing on March 15.