Observing that ‘possible ills could largely out-weigh intended benefits’, the Bombay High Court has refused to admit a plea to allow prisoners, released on temporary bail, to appear before the jurisdictional Station House Officer through video calls after the police submitted it would be difficult for them to ascertain the exact location of an accused.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice N J Jamadar Tuesday passed the order, through video-conference, on a plea filed by Mira-Bhayander MLA Geeta Bharat Jain, through advocate Sunny Punamia, seeking directions to consider video-call facility, in place of physical appearance, for prisoners released on temporary bail to report to their nearest police station, whenever possible.
A high-powered committee, constituted in the state following a Supreme Court order on decongesting prisons, had decided to release 50 per cent of the total inmates across the state. It recommended that undertrial prisoners, booked for offences other than under certain special laws with maximum punishment up to seven years, could be released on interim bail initially for 45 days by furnishing personal bonds. The accused would be required to report to a police station once every 30 days.
On Tuesday, the bench said, “If in case such a released undertrial prisoner violates the condition of bail, if any, of not leaving the jurisdictional limits of a particular police station and hides in unknown territory, the police might face immense difficulties in tracing him if he fails to surrender upon expiry of the temporary period of bail. We do not propose to introduce any such arrangement, the possible ills whereof could largely out-weigh the intended benefits.”
The court said it did not find merit in the PIL and dismissed the plea.
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