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.
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.
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 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.