Facility for courts in Bantwal, Moodbidri and Belthangady

Magistrate courts in Bantwal, Moodbidri and Beltangady in Dakshina Kannada, and other parts of the State, will now be able to use video conferencing to hear prisoners. Now, this facility which is available in seven central prisons and 12 district prisons, is being used by the district sessions court.

Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) K.V. Gangandeep told The Hindu that most prisoners were produced before the magistrate courts. Lack of necessary police personnel to escort them to the respective magistrate courts — which he termed as a perennial problem — has resulted in delay in trials.

The High Court held discussions with prison officials on having video conferencing facilities at the magistrate courts, he said. Priority was being given to magistrate courts like Bantwal, Moodbidri and Belthangady where maximum prisoners are produced. In the absence of the facility, under-trials are to be physically taken and produced.

Facilities

The magistrate court will be connected by a leased telecommunication line with the nearby district prison. “Once this line is laid, equipment necessary for video conferencing will be placed,” Mr. Gangandeep said.

The Prisons Department has been using the video conferencing facility for more than a decade.

The department first used video conferencing with Abdul Kareem Telgi in 2002 in Bangalore who was the accused in a multi-crore stamp paper scam.

In Bangalore, this facility is available at the civil court and two the magistrate court complexes.

The State government’s Karnataka Wide Area Network agency is setting up this facility in all the district courts and district prisons. “Last year as many as 42,000 persons were produced before courts using this facility. It has been working well. There are plans to have this facility in 71 taluk jails also,” he said.

In Mangalore prison

The video conferencing facility at the Mangalore District Prison, which was dysfunctional for nearly a year, started functioning a few days ago.

The facility at the prison had developed a problem after lightning struck in December last year. It took almost a year for the department to get the facility repaired from an authorised agency.

Following resumption of service, the prison could use the facility to produce an inmate lodged here before a court in Bangalore.

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