New Delhi: Telangana and Uttarakhand have become the first states in India to introduce mobile court units to allow witnesses and victims, including women and children, to record evidence from remote locations under circumstances which do not permit them to appear before courts in person.
The aim is to allow recording of evidence of women and child victims or witnesses, doctors and medical practitioners and investigation officers on demand. The mobile court unit facility is meant for subordinate courts.
The mobile court units are equipped with CCTV cameras, laptops, a printer, LED TV, web camera, inverter, scanner, UPS, an extra monitor and speaker which can visit the victim or the witness on the spot, according to the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry.
“Witness or other person, including an accused, involved in court proceedings, in such circumstances where there is an explicit or implicit threat to the personal safety of such a witness or person; or, it is, impossible, extremely difficult, expensive, inconvenient or otherwise not desirable for a such witness/person to attend a court in person,” is eligible to use the mobile court facility according to details available on the website of the District Court Chamoli in Uttarakhand.
People, who are unable to, or, prevented from attending the court in person, for reasons arising from tender years, extreme old age, disease or disability of body, or any other cause of the same kind can also use the facility.
“Such person may also be allowed to testify, or make submissions by means of video conferencing through the mobile court units, who is unable to appear in person, due to administrative and work contingencies, including remoteness of their work locations,” according to the eligibility criteria given on the website.
The standard operating procedure makes it clear that the mobile court unit will be understood as an extension of the court, whose proceedings are being conducted through such a unit. “Accordingly, the proceedings conducted through such Mobile Court Unit shall be conducted as judicial proceedings in a Court, with observance of same courtesies and protocols, applicable to the dignity of a Court,” it states.