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Law

SC Approves 'FASTER' System for Releasing Prisoners, Tells Jails to Accept e-Bail Orders

The court was hearing a suo motu case it took up in July after a news report indicated that inmates at a prison in Agra continued to be lodged in jail three days after they had been granted bail.

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New Delhi: In order to prevent delays in releasing prisoners after bail has been granted, the Supreme Court on Thursday, September 23, approved an electronic system called FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) for transferring e-authenticated copies from courts to prisons, LiveLaw has reported.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Surya Kant instructed state governments, Union territories, prison departments and other authorities concerned to make arrangements at prisons to accept e-authenticated copies.

Under the FASTER system, courts can send e-authenticated copies of bail orders, stay orders, interim orders and proceedings through secured electronic communication to duty officers at prisons.

Also read: RTI Response Shows 931 Bail Petitions Are Pending Before Supreme Court

The apex court was hearing a suo motu case which it took up in July this year after a news report indicated that inmates at a prison in Agra continued to be lodged in jail three days after they had been granted bail.

Passing the order, Chief Justice Ramana said, “It is high time to utilise the Information and Communication Technology tools for efficient transmission of Court’s orders.”

The court ordered duty officers at prisons to amend rules, procedures and practices immediately to facilitate the acceptance of e-authenticated order copies.

It instructed chief secretaries of states and Union Territories to make arrangements for internet with adequate speed at all prisons. Until such arrangements are made, the court asked nodal officers to be appointed under the FASTER system to accept e-authenticated copies of orders. So far, 19 states and Union Territories have filed affidavits stating that they have internet facilities at prisons.

The three-judge bench also directed secretary general of the Supreme Court to work out modalities for the speedy implementation of the FASTER system in consultation with amicus curiae, Dushyant Dave, senior counsel, Tushar Mehta, solicitor general of India, the National Informatics Centre or other government authorities.