SC agrees to hear plea challenging use of Skype in court

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 06, 2015 10:44 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea by a rape accused who has challenged use of skype under the video-conferencing technology to record the complainant’s statement in the criminal trial against him.

A bench headed by Justice JS Kehar, however, said it shall not pass an order without hearing the West Bengal government that is prosecuting the petitioner Sujoy Mitra accused of raping an Irish citizen in 2003. The bench said it shall hear the state on October 12 before deciding his plea.

Mitra has moved the SC after the Calcutta High Court allowed the victim to depose from Ireland through Skype, saying it was akin to video-conferencing. He has complained about the poor quality of the video on skype and has accused the victim of using unfair means while deposing. According to the petitioner the complainant deposed for the first time from her house. It was after his lawyers protested that the woman went to the Indian embassy and got herself examined.

Before SC, Mitra’s advocates said they did not want the trial to get delayed and were, therefore, not opposed to the evidence given by the complainant till now. However, for future they want her to depose through video-conferencing.

Mitra’s petition also states that in his case video-conferencing should not be allowed at all. His lawyer, Manoj V George claimed as per an earlier SC verdict video-conferencing should only be if a witness is in a country that has an extradition treaty with India and under whose laws contempt of court and perjury are also punishable. India does not have a treaty with Ireland and if the witness is later found to have told a lie, it wasn’t possible to prosecute her.

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