Government promises to improve video-conferencing facilities

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jul 2017 10:21:22


Staff Reporter,

State Government has promised to take steps to strengthen the video-conferencing facilities to produce prisoners before courts, in all districts and particularly for Naxal-infested Gadchiroli district.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo while noting the undertaking given by Principal Secretary (Prisons) that State had taken steps to ensure regular production of prisoners before the court through video-conferencing to tide over the crisis of limited security personnel, warned that “if any violation of this affidavit is noticed and there are no just or sufficient grounds to explain it, same may amount to contempt.”

The High Court was hearing a PIL filed by Dr Shoma Sen demanding immediate completion of district prison building at Gadchiroli and fast trial of tribals arrested and kept at Nagpur. Trials of tribals arrested from Naxal-infested Gadchiroli are languishing since enough security force is not available to transport them and high-security prison is under construction, the petitioner had claimed. Due to naxal movement, the prisoners are produced only on the orders of competent court and this often delays the trial for years, the PIL had claimed.

Various orders for completion of prison building were passed by the High Court from time-to-time. On September 10, 2015 the High Court had direct Government to complete all pending prison works within two months and not to city paucity of funds as a reason for the same. Ultimately, the issue of conversion of Gadchiroli Prison into open prison attained finality after orders of High Court on December 3, 2015.

The petitioner in subsequent civil application claimed that despite affidavit filed by respondents about production of prisoners through video-conferencing for pending prosecutions, in reality very few prisoners were produced before the court.
However, the High Court noted that no such order­sheet or then any objection raised by his counsel on that day the prisoners are not produced were pointed out.

“We find that if on few occasions, if an under­trial prisoner has not been produced, that by itself may not be sufficient to infer that under­trial prisoners are never produced in Gadchiroli district” the High Court stated while granting liberty to point out specific instances where under­trial prisoners has/have not been produced without any sufficient cause by the respondents.
Adv Kailsah Narwade appeared for the petitioner. Addl GP Ketki Joshi represented respondent authorities.