Allow prisoners to make video calls to lawyers: HC

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State government to ensure that prisoners across the State are permitted to interact with their lawyers through video calls after laying down certain parameters in such regard.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued the direction on a 2017 suo motu public interest litigation related to prison reforms. The case had been revived now at the instance of senior counsel R. Vaigai, who had been appointed amicus curiae.

“Since there are video conferencing facilities and, in any event, there are video calls possible by way of mobile apps, the authorities at all correctional homes should permit interaction between advocates representing the inmates and the relevant inmates upon setting down certain parameters in such regard. Since the surge has subsided in most places, immediate contact may be permitted as sought, on a rational and reasonable basis," the court ordered.

‘Upload decisions’

The judges also directed that the High Powered Committees, constituted under the aegis of the Legal Services Authority in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to decongest the prisons, must upload all their decisions on the relevant government websites.

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