Author: Siddharth Swain

The Times of India reported that the Supreme Court of India vide order dated 08.07.2021 immediately granted interim bail to 13 prisoners of Agra Central Jail who have been festering there for about 15 to 20 years after observing that they were juveniles when the offence was committed. However, they were not released till three days even after the order for granting bail had been passed as the prison authorities were waiting for the order of the court which was to be delivered to them by post.

On the basis of this report, a bench comprised of the Chief Justice of India, N.V Ramana, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice AS Bopanna on 16.07.2021 initiated proceedings on suo moto basis and expressed its utter annoyance on the delayed communication procedure by the authorities. The CJI after observing the matter said that this Court is contemplating to implement a mechanism wherein bail orders can be transmitted electronically to the prisons so that that the release of prisoners shall not be delayed unnecessarily.

It was argued by the counsel that many a times, fabricated order copies are furnished which is why the Prison Authorities wait for the original and certified copies of the orders to reach them. It was also further put up by the counsel seeking directions to order copy uploaded shall be treated as a certified and authenticated copy.

The Court considering the submissions and with a view to implement the same decided to adopt a scheme called as “FASTER” meaning Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Record System by which the digitally authorized copies of Judgement/Final orders/ interim orders can be transmitted to the concerned Courts/ Tribunals and other administrative Authorities for effective and faster execution. For its working this Court has asked the State Governments/Union Territories to file a report furnishing details about proper access to internet connection at their respective prisons or else any alternative measure as available.

The CJI exclaimed “In this age of information and communication technology, we are still looking at the skies for pigeons to communicate the orders.”

Further direction has been given to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court to suggest a proper mechanism to implement the FASTER System within two weeks. Along with it, he was directed to consult and coordinate Amicus Curiae, Mr Dushyant Dave (Ld. Senior Counsel) and Mr. Tushar Mehta (Ld. Solicitor General of India), National Informatics Centre and other Government Authorities in this regard.

This decision of the Supreme Court will act as a catalyst in terms of communicating orders of Apex Court to other subordinate courts or any other concerned authorities thereby promoting prompt execution. This creative mechanism shall engage itself with improved technological services for instantaneous delivery of orders through a proper channel thereby saving time, effort and reducing delay in execution of orders and directions by the Court. This system should be adopted not only by the Apex Court but also all the other Courts throughout the country and work at par with the upgraded technological diversity. It is important that the system runs at a steady pace and that now during this difficult period of pandemic, it is the need of the hour to update the traditional and orthodox system according to the advanced technological developments and simplify the ease of working.