Cost of producing a under trial at the court thrice in a year is around Rs 1000. The expense of production of an undertrial through video conferencing compared to the physical production is about 1% only. There are over 3 lakh undertrial prisoners in jails who are transported regularly to the courts to face trial which entails arranging for transport vehicle, escort vehicle, police personnel for security, their lodging in the court and taking them back to jail safely.
On Saturday, a Gujarat High Court slammed the state Police and has asked it to maximize the use of technological advancement like video conferencing facilities in courts and jails in order to speed up proceedings and save money.
“Technological advances can be employed and a way could be found out by putting the maximum use of this facility. For the consistent and regular use of this facility for the purpose of conducting trial, let some concerted effort be made out,” the court order reads.
eProject piloted by the Supreme Court’s eCommittee headed by Justice Madan Lokur, is looking into facility being installed at almost all district courts. The eCommittee in consultation with the high courts had selected 830 locations where video conferencing facilities were to be installed. By March 1, the facilities have been installed in 669 locations, that is in over 80% places the video conferencing facility was ready for use.
Apart from video conference, ecommittee is also exploring other technology options in the system. One such option is SMS services that has been started in many courts, which alert litigants about the next date of hearing soon after an adjournment.
Country like UK has one of the best implementation of digital systems in their Judiciary. UK govt. introduced Digital courtrooms which will be fully digital by this year, ending the court service’s ‘outdated’ reliance on paper and introducing new Court presentation and collaboration softwares allowing prosecution, defence, and judiciary to navigate complex crown court cases.
It is a long way for Indian Judiciary to divorce paper forms and adopt digital forms.