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Weblink could ensure speedy justice

India on 15 November 2013
Location : Bangalore | Source : Times of India. Flickr User: prasan.naik

Karnataka is working on a web-based network to facilitate real-time sharing of information between the police, judiciary and prisons department.

When it's functional, police stations can electronically transmit crime records, including First Information Reports and other related documents, to courts and prisons. It's estimated this will facilitate speedy justice delivery and cut down time and manpower by at least 50%.

"The project is at the concept stage and a lot of work is needed to put the project in place. Karnataka would perhaps be the first state to take up such a project,'' said additional director general of police (administration) Alok Mohan.

All police stations in the state are computerised and several crime records are being uploaded into the police computer network. Once the web-based network is introduced, police stations can transmit FIRs to jurisdictional courts or jurisdictional prisons through the wireless network. "These records can't be tampered,'' Alok Mohan said.

Justice SR Bannurmath, former chief justice of the Kerala High Court and currently chairman of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission, had, some years ago, mooted digital transmission of FIRs from police stations to courts. The state government had constituted a committee to look into it but nothing came of it.

The home department wants prisons and forensics under its ambit. "All stakeholders in the justice delivery system can have online and instant access to data,'' Alok Mohan said.

Lower-rung police officers look forward to the new system. "If courts are integrated into the system, it'll ensure instant flow of digitised documents and information between the police and the judiciary. This will save wastage of manpower by ensuring that policemen are not exclusively deputed to hand over FIRs to court. Also, the police won't be able to manipulate FIRs before or after detaining suspects,'' said BA Poonacha, a retired police officer.

Senior advocate K Venkatesh said the project will greatly help the judiciary as the necessary documents will be available when the hearing of a case commences. "Many cases go on for years mainly because police fail to provide relevant documents in time," he added

Use of manpower

* Over 10,000 vacancies in the police department; half of them are for constables

* On an average, around 20% of constables are deputed for court and related work every day

TIMES VIEW

If it works, the move to digitize all processes of policing that will bring about greater synergy between police, judiciary and the prisons department is indeed a welcome move. At a time when the justice-delivery system is pilloried for being tardy and outdated, such a move signals hope that the law will effectively and quickly take its course. Not only that, it will save the force manpower and time, help utilize its resources for policing work rather than clerical duties and ensure that the process too is transparent.

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