IN ONE of the first such instances at the city Sessions Court, proceedings of a bail hearing were video-recorded under provisions of the newly amended Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015. The case pertained to assault of Kurla resident Pravin Kamble in April by two persons allegedly over a real-estate deal.
The accused, Mohammed Zaffar Alam and Shakib Mehdi Hussain, and two others had sought bail last month, which was being heard before special Judge S M Bhosle. The court rejected the bail application.
Special public prosecutor Nitin Satpute sought that the bail application hearing be videographed in accordance with the amendment.
The court was informed by the investigating officer on August 1 that the social welfare office of the state government had sought 10 days to make videography arrangements. The court granted the time, after which the hearing was held on Saturday.
“A video camera was brought to record the proceedings, which went on for over 60 minutes. A person recorded the arguments made by the prosecutor, intervener and the defence of the accused as per procedure,” said advocate Vinod K Raman, an intervener on behalf of the victim. The amended Act calls for all proceedings relating to offences under the act to be video-recorded, including recording the statements of witnesses and the remand of the arrested accused.
Raman said though the provisions for video-recording proceedings have been laid since January, it has not been done before.
Recently, in the case of 15-year old Navi Mumbai Dalit youth Swapnil Sonawane’s murder, his family had sought for the the remand hearing of the accused to be video-recorded but it was not done.
“The provision was made to ensure an increase in the conviction of cases filed under the Atrocities Act by bringing more credibility to the proceedings. Though we had sought video-recording before the Thane court, it was not granted,” said advocate Amit Katarnaware, who represented the Sonawane family.