Operationalise FASTER for efficient transmission of bail orders: SC

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Thursday said it is high time that Information and Communication Technology tools are utilised for efficient transmission of its orders, emphasising that it is concerned about the plight of jail inmates, who are not released despite the bail orders passed by it, due to delay in communication.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant, said: "We direct the Chief Secretaries of all the states/UTs to ensure the availability of internet facility with adequate speed in each and every jail in their respective states/UTs and take necessary steps to arrange for internet facility expeditiously wherever the same is not available.

"Till then, communication shall be made through the nodal officers of the state governments under FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) system."

The FASTER system proposes transmission of e-authenticated copies of the interim orders, stay orders, bail orders, and record of proceedings to the duty-holders for compliance and due execution, through a secured electronic communication channel.

The bench added that the Director General, National Informatics Centre, Home Secretaries of all the states/UTs and the Directors General/Inspectors General of Prisons of all states/UTs shall ensure smooth and successful implementation of FASTER system and shall coordinate with its registry.

The scheme is conceived for delivery of orders to prisons, district courts, high courts, for instantaneous delivery of top court orders through a secure communication channel.

The bench noted that 19 states have submitted compliance report/affidavits with regard to availability of internet facility in prisons. "The states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam and Mizoram have indicated non-availability/partial availability of internet connectivity. Rest of the states have not filed affidavits in this regard," it noted.

The bench noted that a proposal suggesting modalities to implement the FASTER system has been placed before it by the secretary general, and the requisite amendment in the Rules and Procedure for the Supreme Court of India be taken up on the administrative side.

"Further, all the duty-holders shall amend their rules/procedure/practice/directions forthwith, to recognise the e-authenticated copy of the order of this court communicated to them through FASTER system and shall comply with the directions contained therein," it added in the order, and listed the matter after two weeks.

The top court order came on suo motu proceedings, which were initiated on July 16, on the reports stating non-release of the prisoners after the grant of bail. The top court contemplated to adopt the procedure termed FASTER to ensure that such situation does not arise in future.

On July 16, the Chief Justice had expressed concern in the era of internet and IT boom, it is seeming that jail authorities are relying on ancient mode of communication through pigeons.



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