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Delhi High Court Seeks Govt Response On Plea For Physical Meetings With Families, Internet Facility For Under-Trials For Info On Case Status

Shreya Agarwal
13 April 2021 3:46 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Seeks Govt Response On Plea For Physical Meetings With Families, Internet Facility For Under-Trials For Info On Case Status
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Responding to a plea by Delhi-riots accused JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court today directed the counsel for the Delhi government to seek instructions on prayers for computer, internet facility with limited website access, and physical meeting of under-trial prisoners with their friends and family.The...

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Responding to a plea by Delhi-riots accused JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court today directed the counsel for the Delhi government to seek instructions on prayers for computer, internet facility with limited website access, and physical meeting of under-trial prisoners with their friends and family.

The court said that in a previous hearing of the case, it had directed the government to file a status report, on certain prayers raised by the petitioner in respect of "physical mulaqat", video conferencing and internet facilities - which was filed by the government.
In this regard, certain issues were highlighted by Kalita and Narwal during the course of the hearing today, upon which the court directed the government counsel to seek further instructions. The court also made its own observations.
It was submitted with respect to physical meetings that 8 meetings of 30 minutes each were permitted to the prisoners per month before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these were replaced by "e-mulaqat" with 3 meetings of 15 minutes each being permitted to every prisoner per month. The physical meetings were restarted for a brief period but again stoppedApril onwards.
Observing that, "families may not have laptops, tables, computers", the court directed the counsel to seem instructions "whether physical mulaqat may be started even now by wearing mask, PPE kit, etc."
The court also recorded the submission of the petitioner that even in physical mulaqat no physical contact was there as the fiber glass separated prisoners from visitors and asked to take instructions on if physical mulaqat could be started atleast once a week.
The court also asked the government counsel to respond with instructions on whether computer and internet facility may be made available to the under-trials to enable them to get access to information about their own cases, with access being limited only to limited websites - such as those of various courts.


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