Use Skype for producing accused in court: HC

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday advised the Maharashtra government to use Internet-based Skype video call facility instead of the present video-conferencing links so as to reduce the cost incurred by the state on police escort for prisoners.

A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and A P Bhangale was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Shaikh Abdul Naeem, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case who claimed that he was not being produced in court due to lack of police escort.

On the last hearing, the prison authorities had suggested the use of video conferencing facility for production of accused in courts.

On Monday, the High Court said instead of installing LCD television sets and other gadgets for video conferencing, the government could use Skype.

"Almost all lower courts have computer facilities. All that you (government) have to do is install data connection and then (use) Skype... In the long run, this will be cheaper than installing LCD sets in each and every court," Justice Khanwilkar said.

The court added that installing Skype would be less expensive and the government would not incur any additional costs. The court has directed the government to take advice from the information technology secretary on the issue and posted the matter for further hearing on March 14.

"Skype is compatible with 3G mobile connections these days. It can be easily used with broadband Net connections," the court said.

Through Skype, one can make video and audio calls over Internet for free.

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