Undertrial prisoners from jails should be produced before courts through video conference since bringing them physically to courts on every date is a “cumbersome procedure, which consumes time, money and resources”, said the Bombay High Court recently.
The court then directed the Maharashtra government to make necessary funds available to ensure that every court is provided with necessary screens and other video conference facilities.
The direction was passed by Justice Bharati Dangre on November 10, however, the order copy was made available on Friday.
Justice Dangre had taken note of the issue of regular non-production of several undertrial prisoners before the courts while hearing a bail plea filed by one Tribhuvansing Yadav. His advocate Vinod Kashid submitted that his bail application in the lower court was adjourned on 23 occasions as he was not produced before the court either physically or through video conference.
The court had then appointed advocate Satyavrat Joshi as amicus curiae (friend of the court) and asked him and the prosecutor to visit prisons in the state and submit a report on the availability of the video conference facility.
A report was submitted by the Inspector of Prisons and Correctional Services which said that 39 prisons in Maharashtra have 329 sanctioned VC units of which 291 are functional.
Advocate Joshi’s report pointed out that 16 video conference units are available in the Arthur Road prison, whereas there are 19 units in the Taloja prison.
His report, however, emphasised that the undertrial prisoners in both the jails complained that they are not produced regularly before the court either physically or through video conference.
The court has directed the state advocate YM Nakhwa to forward the report to the state home department for necessary steps to be taken to make the video conference facility more effective.
The Bombay High Court has kept the matter for further hearing on December 4.