HE Supreme Court on Thursday directed state governments to ensure smooth and successful implementation of the ‘Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records’ (FASTER) system that enables the transmission of authenticated copies of the court’s orders to avoid any delay in complying with them. These include bail and interim bail orders.
The court also directed the Chief Secretaries of all the states to ensure the availability of internet facilities with adequate speed in every jail.
A bench of Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, and Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant passed the order in suo motu proceedings it initiated after 13 convicts lodged in Agra jail were granted bail by the Supreme Court on July 8 but were released only 96 hours after the court’s order.
“We are concerned about the plight of the jail inmates who are not released despite the bail orders passed by this court, due to delay in communication of such orders. It is high time to utilize the Information and Communication Technology tools for efficient transmission of court’s orders”, the bench said.
On July 16, the top court had directed its Secretary-General to submit a proposal suggesting the modalities to implement the FASTER system. It also directed the State Governments to apprise the court of the availability of efficient internet facilities in their respective prisons.
In response, 19 states submitted compliance reports about the availability of internet facilities in prisons. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam and Mizoram indicated non-availability/partial availability of internet connectivity. The rest of the states did not file affidavits.
The apex court nevertheless directed the states to take necessary steps to arrange for internet facilities expeditiously wherever it is not available. Till then, it said, communication would be made through the nodal officers of the state governments under the FASTER system.