84 new courts, jails to have video conference facilities

Cuttack: Orissa High Court has stressed maximum use of video conferences for production of accused under judicial custody in courts as required under section 167 of CrPC to improve judicial administration in the state through e-courts project.

An under-trial prisoner (UTP) under judicial custody is required to be produced before the court once in every fortnight till the chargesheet is filed.

High Court central project coordinator (CPC) T P Rath said in video conferences, the UTP need not travel to court but can produce himself before the magistrate by sitting in front of the video camera inside the jail premises.

The recent High Court suggestion for more and more use of video conferences for this purpose is aimed at reducing pendency of cases. But the facility will also help the state government as it has to make heavy security arrangements along with escort party to transport UTPs to courts from jails and vice versa, Rath said.

Video conferencing will also get rid of crowd of unruly and anxious people near the courts.

In recent days, the courts in Odisha have witnessed heavy gatherings in court premises during the production of arrested fake godmen and the escort parties face difficulties in giving them full protection.

“We are now providing video conference facilities to at least 42 more courts and equal number of jails in the State under the e-courts project. This facility is already in place in all the district courts and circle jails of the State,” he said.

Rath said at least Rs 3 lakh is being spent in every unit of video conference which requires audio, video facilities, computers, dedicated power and communication lines for internet to function.

“The State government must come forward to extend adequate cooperation for successful implementation of e-courts projects in the state,” he added.