The NDA government has initiated work on an IT system for prisons in the country aimed at reducing the number of under trial prisoners in jails and to prevent keeping prisoners in jail beyond the quantum of their sentences, law and justice minister Ravishankar Prasad said here on Sunday at the 22nd convocation of the National Law School of India University.
The NDA government is working with the National Informatics Centre to create a ‘software’ and a database of prisoners – with special focus on under trial prisoners, and a pilot system is being tried out at the Tihar Jail the law minister said.
“Over 66 per cent of prisoners in jails are under trials and there are several others who are over staying their sentence. Their ratio is more than that of the actual convicts. It is not only a human rights issue but also a matter of great concern for the judiciary. Laws will be appropriately amended and the service of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will be used to uphold the criminal justice system,” Prasad said.
In the pilot system at the Tihar Jail details of prisoners can be obtained online with the click of a button. “The process is transparent and we see it as a sign of progress,” the law minister said.
The software computes the dates of arrival of a convict at a prison and raises red flags when it is time for the release of an inmate. The government is deliberating on making the prisoner data available in the public domain, he said.
Prasad said that under the provisions of the National Judicial Appointment Commission bill a data bank of lawyers could be created for the appointment of the ‘best talents’ as judges.
The constitutional amendment through the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill when endorsed by the states would mark the beginning of a new participatory process in the selection of judges, he said. “We are now committed to developing the databank of the performance of young lawyers so that the best talent is considered for appointment as judges,” he pointed out.
The convocation was presided over by Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha who is also the NLSIU Chancellor.