The Maharashtra Prison department will soon rely on the use of 'Skype' an internet based programme to produce under trials before court in the wake of low police escort personnel availability in the department leading to delay in criminal trials for non-production of accused.
A trial project recently got over at the Arthur road and Taloja prison linking both the Central prisons via Skype. The internet based programme is mainly pegged against the present method of producing under trials on video conferencing, to reduce the high telephone bills which the prison department has to pay to either MTNL or VSNL, for providing telephone lines to be used for the video conferencing.
A state home department official said "The Skype service is cost effective and we already have had a discussion with the National Informatics Centre to work out way to ensure that there is no third party intrusion in the Skype service being used by the department."
The trial project linked between Arthur road prison and Taloja Prison ended in the last week of February. The prison department has been over the years contemplating of using the service of the internet based program for several reasons apart from the high telephone bills.
Arthur road Jail Superintendent, V D Borkule said "Apart from the cost effectiveness, in several parts of the state there is a problem of load shedding and the use of Skype which is an internet based program is an alternative option to tackle and I am in complete support of using of this application."
At the moment 54 prisons and 146 courts are linked through video conferencing facility in the state. In the last three months ending February, 2014, over ten thousand under trials were produced before courts through video conferencing. Approximately the telephone bill of a video conference line is around Rs 15,000 per month. The government will further scrutinize the project and check for its financial viability before complete implementation said the home department official.
The Bombay High Court also last week while hearing public interest litigation suggested to the state to set up special cells attached to the prisons which would exclusively be employed for escorting under trials to prison and would not be burdened with any other bandobast duties.