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Install video-conferencing facilities in all courts in Maharashtra, says Bombay HC

According to the state government, of the 2,200 courts in the state, about 248 are yet to get VC facilities

mumbai Updated: Feb 26, 2017 00:27 IST
Ayesha Arvind
Ayesha Arvind
Hindustan Times
video conferencing,Bombay high court,Aurangabad Arms Haul
The court attributed the delay to a ‘lack of will’ on the government’s part.(HT File Photo)

The Bombay high court recently directed the state home department to expedite the process of installing video-conferencing (VC) facilities in all courts across Maharashtra.

A bench of justices VM Kanade and PR Bora directed the state to rope in BSNL to ensure that courts which have VC facilities can get uninterrupted access to the internet, by the end of March.

The directions came while the court was hearing a plea filed by Shaikh Abdul Naeem, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case. Naeem said he was not being produced in court for hearings owing to a lack of escort personnel.

According to the state government, of the 2,200 courts in the state, about 248 are yet to get VC facilities, owing to difficulties such as poor broadband and power connectivity.

During a previous hearing in December last year, the bench had passed similar directions. However, it observed in the last hearing earlier this week that the state had failed to “make any progress.”

It expressed displeasure at the state’s inaction and added that though the task could not be considered unrealistic, the delay was a result of a ‘lack of will’ on the government’s part. “We have come to realise that the state will not do anything without the court’s intervention,” said the bench.

“You must implement the court’s order by March. Look at courts in which video-conferencing equipment has been damaged or has stopped functioning. The state will have to allot funds for the upkeep and repair of these facilities as well,” the bench said.

According to the state’s own submission made during the previous hearing, if VC facilities are installed and made operational in all courts across Maharashtra, the state can save as much Rs15 lakh a day on police escort and transportation expenses.

The high court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing in four weeks.


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First Published: Feb 26, 2017 00:25 IST