Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi Government to submit a detailed status report in a plea seeking a direction to be issued to Tihar Central Prison to allow prisoners to have meetings with their legal counsels through video-conferencing.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has asked the Delhi Government to address the issues raised in two PILs which will be heard together.
Filed by Advocate Sarthak Maggon and Mr Ajit P Singh, the petitions seek a direction to be issued to the Jail authorities to set up a web link for legal mulakats and for conducting regular legal mulakats telephonically or through video conference to ensure access to justice to the inmates of Tihar Prison Complex.
The Petitioner has argued that despite suspension of physical visits by order dated March 23, no provision has been made so far to give effect to conducting telephonic visits.
While highlighting that the present system is adversely affecting the prisoner's right to personal liberty and legal representation, the Petitioner has submitted that due to the absence of telephonic and virtual visits, the administration of justice is getting delayed as prisoners were unable to contact their legal representatives.
'It is noteworthy that setting up legal mulakat through the establishment of a web link open to registration by advocates shall prove to be a quantum leap in the simplification and accessibility to justice by protecting the rights of the inmates to engage appropriate legal counsel to represent the remedies available in accordance with due process', the petition says.
Delhi Government, while submitting its status report, contended that telephonic conversations are already being provided to the inmates as per the Delhi Prison Rules.
In addition to this, the Delhi Government submitted that in 10-15 days, video conferencing facility will also be made available to all the inmates for both talking to their family members as well as their legal counsels.
'Video Conferencing with private counsels has already been started in women's prison, Jail No. 6', Delhi Government submitted.