Kerala

Roopesh gets nod for internet access

Jailed Maoist leader Roopesh, who is being prosecuted in 39 cases in various courts, has been permitted to use internet for 45 minutes weekly to access the official websites of the Supreme Court and High Courts and various legal journals for conducting his trial.

The facility will be available to Mr. Roopesh, who is conducting his cases himself as party-in-person in most of the cases, till the jail authorities provide him software-based law journals.

Moving his petition, the activist sought to get limited and indirect access to internet for collecting legal materials such as judgements of the constitutional courts and various statutes. He submitted that most of the cases charged against him had matured for trial and the access to judgements and various statutory provisions was indispensable.

He contended that being an under trial prisoner, he was entitled to access internet in a controlled manner and the prison rules permitted imprisoned foreign citizens to access internet for obtaining legal aid. He submitted that such facility should not be denied to him.

He submitted that the right to use internet had become a fundamental right protected under Article 19 of the Constitution, which was recognised by the Supreme Court.

Partially allowing the petition, the Additional Sessions Judge-4, Ernakulam, directed the Superintendent of the Central Prison, Viyyur, to place the computer, which the petitioner would access, in such a manner that its screen faces a CCTV camera to ensure that the access to internet is not misused.

The jail authorities were also directed to put in place necessary firewall protection to the computer to allow access only to the official sites of courts and legal websites.

The internet usage charges shall be adjusted against the wages to be given to the petitioner, if he exercises his option for availing employment in the prison, the court directed. The jail authorities were also directed to provide software-based law journals to him and to permit the use the computer to access them for a reasonable time.

If requested, the jail authorities should forward his application to the Member Secretary of the Kerala State Legal Service Authority for getting adequate legal aid, including the limited and controlled access to internet to collect legal materials, the court directed.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 2:07:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/roopesh-gets-nod-for-internet-access/article32983922.ece

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