SC introduces Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records system

It ensures undertrials are not made to wait for days on end to be released

September 23, 2021 10:46 pm | Updated 10:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

In a big fillip to the fundamental rights of life, dignity and personal liberty, the Supreme Court has introduced a new system by which its crucial decisions, including orders on bail and stay of arrest, can be communicated electronically to prison authorities and investigating agencies through a secure channel.

Following an order on July 16 by a Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, the apex court has introduced the “Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records” (FASTER) system.

The system is meant to ensure that undertrials are not made to wait for days on end behind bars to be released because the certified hard copies of their bail orders were late to reach the prison.

The system would also prevent unnecessary arrests and custody of people even after the court has already granted them its protection. It may even communicate a stay on an execution ordered by the final court on time.

Amicus curiae in the case, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, thanked the Chief Justice for the move, saying it will be remembered for years to come.

“Thank the institution of the Supreme Court, individuals do not matter,” Chief Justice Ramana replied.

A report submitted by Supreme Court’s Secretary General Sanjeev S. Kalgaonkar to the Bench explained that the Rules and Handbook on Practice and Procedure enable the Registry to transmit a certified copy of the judgment or order either in physical or electronic form.

E-authenticated copies

“It is proposed that the e-authenticated copies of the record of proceedings/orders, digitally signed by the authorised officer may be transmitted through FASTER [Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records] system to the duty-holders of the justice system,” the report said.

The process to develop the FASTER system began with the CJI’s observations in court on July 16, “In this modern era of technology, why are we still looking at the skies for pigeons to deliver our orders?”

The court hearing was based on a suo motu case, ‘In Re: Delay in release of convicts after grant of bail’.

The suo motu case was taken after The Hindu reported the plight of 13 prisoners in Agra jail, who suffered imprisonment for up to two decades despite the Juvenile Justice Board declaring them ‘juveniles’ at the time of commission of their crimes.

The apex court had granted them bail on July 8, but they were released by the prison authorities after a delay of four days.

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