The Telegraph
Saturday , February 16 , 2013
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CJ ‘papa’ gifts virtual court to probation girls

Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir has not forgotten his unfortunate “daughters” of women’s probation home, Namkum.

Thanks to Kabir’s efforts, 47 inmates under probation will no longer have to commute long distances to various district headquarters for their court hearings.

Instead, these will be held through satellite videoconferencing from February-end, a facility provided by home department with technical support from JAP-IT.

Videoconferencing will be provided at the top floor of the two-storey building.

The inmate and magistrate concerned will meet onscreen, eliminating safety and travel hazards, fuel cost and the efforts of police escorts to take and bring them back.

Overall, the service will also help speed up the wheels of justice for these women, it is hoped.

The 39th Chief Justice of India is fondly called Papa by the probation home inmates. As chief justice of Jharkhand High Court, he and his social worker wife Meena, often visited the home and interacted with women inmates from Latehar, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Daltonganj and others awaiting court orders.

Even when he left Jharkhand, Kabir, known for his sensitive approach, and Meena kept in touch with the probation home inmates.

Home superintendent Amita Ekka said they had requested “sir” (Kabir) to make some sort of arrangement for the women inmates to access court hearings with ease.

Now, welcoming the facility, Ekka said she was confident that “sir would make it happen”.

“He knew that travel poses a grave problem for the girls as well as the authorities. Often, we come across two court hearings on the same day, so commuting logistics is quite difficult to manage,” the superintendent said.

Many girls hailed from far-off Latehar, Daltonganj and Hazaribagh districts.

It meant that for court hearings, they were required to travel all the way to the headquarters.

According to Juvenile Justice, Care and Protection Act 2000, inmates are required to appear at a juvenile court for hearing and are usually not charged with crimes, but delinquencies.

At present, the inmates are mostly destitute or booked under elopement charges, though there is the odd murder charge as well.

Video conferencing project titled e-mulakat started at Birsa Munda central jail, Hotwar, in April 2012. Since then, it is under various stages of completion and functioning at the rest of the jails in the state.

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