Suresh Thakur, an under-trial at Tihar Jail, would often be worried about his case in Delhi High Court as his counsel did not meet him regularly in prison.
He needn’t worry. With the setting up of a dedicated video-conferencing facility at the jail on Thursday, inmates can confer with their lawyers sitting kilometres away. The facility was availed of on the opening day by 18 inmates, including Thakur, who was provided a lawyer by the high court’s Legal Aid Committee as he could not afford one himself.
Tihar director-general B.K. Gupta said: “This is the first such facility in the country that is meant to be used by inmates to confer with their lawyers. It would be available to the inmates, usually poor ones, once a week.”
Till now, the jail had been using its nine video-conferencing studios to uplink with metropolitan and district courts for court matters related to extension of judicial remand. To work the new facility, the jail’s studios have now been linked to a studio recently set up in a section of the high court, from where the nominated counsels would interact with their clients.
The facility was set up at the instance of Justice Madan Lokur, claimed Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta. “Inmates usually found it difficult to discuss their case with their nominated counsels. With the video-conferencing facility, these counsels need not come to the jail for routine work.”
For now, the facility is only available to those inmates whose cases are pending at the high court and are represented by nominated counsels. Among the 18 who availed of the facility, most had queries related to the status of their bail application, their appeal against their conviction by lower courts, and parole.