The state government in Uttar Pradesh (India) has decided to expand the video-conferencing link between jails and courts through the internet in order to cover all 63 prisons in the state. Reviewing the prison department’s performance, minister for jails Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhayya said the project should be expedited as it would help in vastly improving the jail administration. It would also cut the risk of prisoners under trial escaping or being attacked in transit, instances that are quite common at present.
The use of information technology would also help in minimising expenditure and manpower. The first such video-conferencing was held in Lucknow in October 2011 when alleged mafioso Abu Salem, who is lodged in a Mumbai jail, made web appearance before a CBI court in Lucknow in fake passport case. Later, the department also conducted similar exercises in Allahabad, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Kanpur, Ghaziabad and Meerut. The central government had amended the criminal procedure code (CrPC) in 2010 to enable the courts and jails to present the prisoners through video-conferencing.
There are nearly 89,000 prisoners in the largely overcrowded 63 jails of Uttar Pradesh which have a capacity to house only 46,000 inmates. On an average, nearly 15,000 to 20,000 prisoners are moved from various jails to the courts for appearance every day.
This post is brought you by Legal Video Network.