Video conferencing violates prisoner’s rights: expert

March 28th, 2009 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The video conferencing facility in courts and jail premises has reduced the burden of the police but a noted lawyer and human rights activist has opposed the idea.
“The use of the technology (video conferencing) 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 said.

He was addressing a conference on the rights of under-trial prisoners and unnecessary detention, organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

“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.

Madhav Menon, a legal expert, however, rejected Gonsalves’ opinion. “Using this facility is more transparent. Prisoners used to accompany police to courts with ropes and handcuffs, attracting public attention, but that is avoided with this technology.”

Citing California’s example where a police station, court and lock-ups were constructed within the same building, Menon said the concept of ‘jail adalats’ in India should be encouraged.

The video conferencing facility is available in all trial courts in the capital following the Delhi High Court’s recommendation.

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