Supreme Court Contemplates use of Video-conferencing to Accelerate Criminal Trials

Team SoOLEGAL 21 Dec 2018 11:30am

Supreme Court Contemplates use of Video-conferencing to Accelerate Criminal Trials

The Supreme Court contemplating to conclude criminal trials within 60 days has sought assistance of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC), regarding the use of technology to accelerate the criminal trials.

According to a News18 report, a SC bench led by Justice SA Bobde, emphasizing the critical need of speeding up the overstretched process of trials has dwelled on extensive use of video-conferencing, so that a trial can be conducted even without personal appearances of witnesses.

The SC bench, which also consisted of Justices L Nageswara Rao and R Subhash Reddy, pointed out how video-conferencing can make it convenient to examine several witnesses in different cases, which otherwise requires a substantial amount of time in getting the witnesses physically present for examination.

 “Section provides a time limit of 60 days within which the trial is supposed to be completed. In this context, we consider it appropriate to explore the possibility of using video-conferencing for the purpose of recording evidence since it is believed that such use will eliminate the time taken for summoning the witnesses to Court,” the bench noted.

The SC bench observation came while hearing a criminal appeal filed by a man sentenced to death for raping and killing a minor girl. The death penalty was confirmed by the High Court three months later, after the sessions court in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa had handed out maximum punishment to the accused in March 2013. However, on appeal of the accused, the top court had in January 2014 stayed the execution of his death penalty.

However, Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra submitted before the bench that the video-conferencing facility is not always available throughout the trial in various parts of the country and in the present form, this cannot be wholly relied on.

The bench then passed the order:

Since, this appears to be surmountable, we consider it appropriate to hear National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Department of Justice in the matter.”

The court has, in fact, issued notices to the DoJ and the Director General of the NIC to provide them with assistance in resolving the issues so that technology could come to the aid of speeding up the never-ending criminal trials that involve personal liberty of citizens.

The top court will hear the DoJ and the NIC on January 30.

Tagged: Video Conferencing in Courts   Criminal Trials   Department of Justice   DoJ   National Informatics Centre   NIC   Supreme Court  
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