Video-Conference facilities in courts

Call it improvement in functioning of courts or extending internet and electronic facilities in all the courts and prisons in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir , necessary guidelines have now been laid down by the Common High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh for holding trials , recording evidence , giving remands and conducting other affairs through electronic video linkage. Video Conferencing technology, we know, saves time , expenses and hassles and allows users in different locations to hold face to face talks , hear reports, deliver directions and receive instructions and now added to this all , court proceedings and associated matters as well. These facilities having been installed in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir , all the court complexes and prisons in Jammu and Kashmir is a step in the appropriate right direction. Connectivity and convenience are the concomitants of this advanced technology. The facilities under the video conferencing are available in all matters of civil and criminal trials where a witness is located inter-state, intrastate or even overseas. However, confessional statements under Section 164 CrPC cannot be recorded under the video conferencing facilities for obvious reasons.
This technology extended to all courts and prisons could be expected to be not a fair weather friend only but to remain operational throughout the year on continuous basis and only then, could it yield constructive results. Besides, addressing the problem of mobility, it ensures safety and security of the accused looking to the volatility of the crime committed and his or her deposing in the court to give other valuable evidence etc. The other important aspect stressed upon is that such a facility should be consistent with furthering the interests of Justice and should cause minimal disadvantage to the parties involved. Chief Justice has laid down guidelines with intent to make video conferencing facilitative and not otherwise to serve the noble cause it was primarily meant for. The guidelines make it impressively known that wherever possible , the proceedings by way of video conferencing, shall be conducted as judicial proceedings and the same courtesies and protocols would be observed as physically in the courts etc.
In other words, it aims at there being practically no variance or difference between the actual physical proceedings in the court and the one through video conferencing except there being the aspect of mobility involved .It further implies about no variance or non adherence to the relevant statutory provisions applicable to judicial proceedings taking place with the introduction of this technology. Information Technology Act and the Indian Evidence Act 1872 shall, therefore, duly apply in recording evidence under the facility of video conferencing. However, much success of the system working thoroughly depended upon the availability of co-ordinators and technicians, if any, at the connecting ends although such coordinators have been designated under the guidelines but what is important is total involvement of the concerned at both the points. It is noteworthy that such coordinators have been identified in matters where an accused was lodged like under conditions being in other state or Union Territory, in custody, in hospital , in Juvenile Observation Home and the like.
The guidelines definitely remove lot many doubts and clear mist of any kind whatsoever. All such facilities and benefits under the technology development system in courts, jails and other ancillary institutions and similar other innovative measures in future should finally aim at further reducing the time factor in dispensation of Justice , prove hassles free and be extremely useful to all parties involved besides being cost effective,