Hyderabad High Court's guidelines on videoconferencing

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Crime

There must be coordinators with the court as well as at the remote location.

Hyderabad High Court

Hyderabad: In order to avoid ambiguity and misconception with regard to the conduction of trials and the examination of the accused and witnesses, the Hyderabad High Court has issued a series of guidelines to be followed by trial courts across the states of AP and Telangana. Equipment and services enabling audiovisual communication between persons at different locations have been installed in the High Court, all district courts, subordinate court units of city civil courts, small causes courts, the courts of metropolitan session judges, jails in Hyderabad, and district jails in both states.

As per the guidelines, videoconferencing can be used in the trial of all matters, including remand, bail applications, civil cases and criminal cases where witnesses are located elsewhere within the state, country, or abroad. The HC has made it clear that these guidelines do not apply to proceedings under Section 164 of the CrPC. Referring to the preparatory arrangements for such videoconferences, the HC says that there must be coordinators with the court as well as at the remote location.

If the person to be examined is located overseas, the court may appoint coordinators from among the officers of the consulate or embassy of India in that country, or a duly certified notary public/ oath commissioner. If the person to be examined is in another state or Union territory, a judicial magistrate may be deputed by the district judge hearing the case. The videoconference shall be recorded at the court, and a master copy shall be retained by the court as part of the official records. According to the High Court’s guidelines, third parties are not allowed to be present during the video conference.

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