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Home Ministry asks States to Link Prisons with Courts via Video Conferencing

The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked all the state governments to link prisons with courts through video conferencing in order to expedite trials and to save costs of escorting undertrials to courts. The Home Ministry’s advisory to the states has been issued following a national conference of heads of prisons in states and UTs on prison reforms.

Salient Highlights

In the conference, the state governments were advised to implement the following suggestions aimed at having an effective prison administration system:
The states have been asked to integrate prison e-system with Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) as well as e-courts on a priority basis.

At periodic intervals, combined training of prison, police, health department and judiciary on undertrial management should be conducted.

Separate training module on deradicalisation of prisoners should also be conducted.

The states should fill the existing vacancies in all ranks of prison departments expeditiously.
The nomenclature of Prisons Department may be changed to “Prisons and Correctional Administration“. As per the changed nomenclature, it should have integrated prison, correctional and probation services.
All states should establish a welfare wing comprising welfare officers, law officers, counsellors and probation officers, under their respective prison departments.

To ensure uniformity in prison rules and regulations, all states/UTs should revise their existing prison manuals by adopting provisions of the model prison manual, 2016 prepared by the home ministry.

CCTNS

The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project was initiated in 2009 as part of police modernisation programme under the national e-governance project. It was conceived to bring all 16,000 police stations in India under a single network to counter terror challenges.
The core objective of CCTNS is to connect all the police stations so that any of the police stations can contact any other police station; thereby facilitate collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and transfer the information among police stations, state headquarters and central police organizations.

e-Courts

e-Courts is a new concept where from filing of a petition till its disposal, use of paper is restricted to bare minimum. In a full fledged e-court, the lawyers would not need to carry bulky files but would come to court with laptops, pen drives and would be able to file the petitions in PDF.

E-courts help in various ways such as: Help judicial administrations of the courts, streamline day-to-day activities, assist Judicial Administration in reducing pendency of cases, provides transparency of information to litigants, and provides judges access to legal and judicial databases.

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Maharashtra launches India’s first Crime Criminal Tracking Network System

The Maharashtra Government became first state in the country to launch India’s first comprehensive ‘Crime Criminal Tracking Network System’ (CCTNS) in Mumbai.

It was launched through the operationalisation of 42 cyber laboratories across the state in order to combat growing cybercrimes.

Key Facts

  • The CCTNS has been developed by Pune based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
  • Under it, all police stations in the state will be linked with one another for sharing information about crimes in their respective jurisdictions.
  • It will pave the way for a digital police force in Maharashtra. The services of the cyber labs, will be linked by secure high-speed fibre optic cable network.
  • It will be available to address cyber security concerns of private organisations and banks among others.
  • Under it, the state government will raise a special cyber police force of around 1,000 policemen well trained to handle the growing incidents of cybercrimes.

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CCEA extends CCTNS deadline to March 2017

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has extended the deadline for implementation of Crime and Criminals Tracking network and Systems (CCTNS) project till March 2017.

Decision in this regard was taken by CCEA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra on the proposal forwarded by Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

CCEA also approved additional five years phase for operation and maintenance of the CCTNS up to March 2022.

Facts about CCTNS Project

  • It is an ambitious online system and central citizen portal that will link all state-level citizen websites under single platform which will provide a number of citizen friendly services.
  • The services will include reporting a crime, police verification for passports, linkages with UIDAI, transport database and National Population Register.
  • Linking of Police stations: All police stations across the country will be connected with each other in order to exchange information on a need basis.
  • Thus, it will help these stations to access to criminal and crime related database from across the country.
  • National-level crime analytics: It can be performed on real time basis which will help law makers and policy makers in taking appropriate and timely action.
  • Streamline the criminal justice system: By computerising the functioning of police stations, prosecution directorates, prisons and forensic laboratories.
  • It will also ensure smooth data exchange among these various systems along with e-court systems which are already functioning throughout the country.

Background

Union Government (then UPA II government) in 2009 had sanctioned CCTNS project with an outlay of 2,000 crore rupees. It was sanctioned with the objective of interconnecting about 15,000 police stations and additional 5,000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country. It also aimed at digitisation of data related to investigation, FIRs registration and charge sheets in all police stations with each other.

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