Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted six weeks` time to Maharashtra government to inform it about steps being taken to ensure that video conference facilities were in place in jails for producing accused before courts through this system.
The order was given by a bench headed by Justice PV Hardas on a bunch of PILs which alleged that the accused were not produced in courts due to inadequate or lack of escort services by police resulting in delayed justice to them.
The state said it had already introduced the video conference system in jails but the project had not been completed. The government sought six months time to file a reply to the PILs but the court allowed only six weeks, saying the issue was important and should be quickly addressed.
The court called upon the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) to assist the judicial system by assuring power supply in jails for the purpose of video conference.
In an affidavit, Bhairavnath Parkhi, Joint Secretary, Home, said currently video conference facility was available in 68 courts and 35 jails in the state.
He said in a meeting held by Principal Home Secretary on July 5 it was decided to install video conference facility via LCD through Skype. In this regard, the Principal Secretary was of the opinion that VIDYO Desktop conference is a good alternative to hardware-based VC wherever it is not in place. NIC Delhi was then requested to install this system.
The affidavit said that 100 licences for deployment of this equipment was sanctioned by the NIC for the pilot project. The licence would be issued as soon as the hardware is installed by the department at locations decided by courts and jail authorities. The licence issue is done after registering each location on NIC`s specified website in online mode.
Any further scaling up beyond 100 licences at a later stage, the process would have to be separately taken up by the State Government with NIC Delhi, which will then work out the cost involved.
However, Parkhi prayed for further time to install the VIDYO Desktop Conference system as the concerned department would need to take budgetary provisions from the government for installation of such equipment.