Ensure Infra For Lawyers, Family To Virtually Visit Prisoners Through E-Mulakat: Bombay High Court

Ensure Infra For Lawyers, Family To Virtually Visit Prisoners Through E-Mulakat: Bombay High Court

The directions were issued after the Maharashtra government informed that it has issued a government resolution (GR) stating that e-mulakats and smart card calling facilities will be given for prisoners across the State.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, May 08, 2024, 11:22 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that necessary infrastructure is provided in the state prisons to support the implementation of the e-mulakat system under which prisoners can communicate with their families and lawyers through phone calls and video calls.

The directions were issued after the Maharashtra government informed that it has issued a government resolution (GR) stating that e-mulakats and smart card calling facilities will be given for prisoners across the State.

The court was hearing a PIL by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) seeking direction to the State to implement telephonic and electronic modes of communication as per Model Prison Manual, 2016. In July 2020, due to Covid-19, the inmates were provided with video calling as physical mulakats were stopped. However, the facility was abruptly discontinued after November 2021. The plea had sought restarting of the facility.

The State informed the HC about the GR to restore such facilities and assured that the circular will be implemented. PUCL’s advocate Rebecca Gonsalves pointed out that all the prisons in the state have not been provided with the facility. She asked whether the State will implement the GR in all 60 prisons in Maharashtra having 37,000 prisoners.

However, in view of the issuance of the GR in March, the HC disposed of the PIL with directions to the State to implement the same in “its letter and spirit”.

“They (State) shall also provide adequate infrastructure in prisons so that GR is implemented and inmates in prison are given access to the faculties of phone call and e-mulakat facility,” a bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said.

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