Snags in judicial video conferencing hinder proceedings

April 24th, 2009 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Video conferencing started in all trial courts of the capital four years ago but some flaws are yet to be ironed out, hampering the work of an already overburdened judiciary.
On Thursday, the use of video conferencing during a city court’s hearing of the multimillion fake stamp paper case involving scamster Abdul Karim Telgi was far from smooth.

Telgi, who is jailed in Bangalore, was deposing through video conferencing but the hearing was interrupted several times due to poor connectivity.

The hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. but was delayed by 45 minutes since it took time to establish the video link. Within 10 minutes of the court being in session, the hearing was interrupted due to poor connection.

After several attempts, the court convicted Telgi along with nine others in yet another fake stamp paper case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Bansal had to pronounce the charges several times to all the accused lodged in Banglaore and Pune jails, causing major delay in the proceedings.

“This is a routine thing in courts. Sometimes we have to spend hours to complete the court proccedings. The facility is good but very time consuming because of poor connectivity,” said a police official who was on duty in the court.

Activists and legal experts have also raised doubts about the effectiveness of the procedure.

“The use of the technology is not the solution of any problem but. It is just an aid so we should not forget about the rights of the people while using it,” eminent criminal lawyer Colin Gonsalves told IANS.

“A prisoner’s human rights are completely violated when he communicates to magistrates through video conferencing as he just cannot express himself freely. He cannot tell the court what problems he is facing and if he is making some statements under pressure,” he added.

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