The Maharashtra's prisons department has taken the Mulakat – the time allotted for prisoners to meet their families – online.
Called ‘e-Mulakat’, 38 prisons across the state lets inmates speak with their relatives through video-calls. The aim, said Bipin Kumar Singh, the inspector general of prisons (southern region), is to make it simpler for relatives who don’t stay in the same city as the jail,to connect with the inmates.
The e-Mulakat programme uses the video-conferencing facilities that have already been installed in state prisons for virtual deposition. “It is a very systematic approach and will make the Mulakat stress-free for the family. They will not have to come all the way to the jail,” Singh said.
The system works the same way in which the Mulakat functions – once the family takes an appointment, the prison in the city where they live will arrange for a video conference with the jail where the prisoner has been kept.
Singh said the response to the programme has been good.
Authorities allow Mulakat for convicts twice a month, and for under-trials once a week. This will apply for the e-Mulakat too.
Singh said there have been no objections to the system. “Even when the family comes for Mulakat to the prisons, they cannot touch the prisoner. There is always a metal grill or glass separating the prisoner and his family. The video conference will be similar,” he said.