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Indian Courts Lacking Video Conferencing Services

January 31, 2017

The nation of India currently has 2,200 state courts that deal in civil and criminal cases. For several years, these courts have used video conferencing services in order to allow expert witnesses to appear in court from remote locations, and also have inmates represent themselves in the court from their prison, thus saving millions in travel expenses and security fees.

These video conferencing systems already have seen widespread use, according to Mankhuwar Deshmukh, an Assistant Public Prosecutor for the Indian government. 61,946 inmates alone appears in court through the use of video conferencing in 2015, and 39,343 appeared in 2016 from January to July (there is not yet data for the second half of 2016).

However, despite the obvious usefulness of video conferencing services in courts, India has still not yet been able to implement the technology nationwide. After conducting an internal review, a government commission informed the Indian High Court in Bombay that 187 of the 2,200 courts still do not have this video conferencing technology. The area with the highest levels of concern was Nashik, which features 33 courts that are lacking this technology.

On the bright side, this does represent a slight improvement over the last time the High Court examined this issue in 2011. At that point, there were 248 courts that needed the technology. Progress has been slow with implementing the technology in the remaining courts, as many of them are in rural areas, making them harder to develop.

Video conferencing services have already forever changed the landscape of the business world  by allowing for worldwide real time communication and collaboration, allowing people to work from remote locations. The Indian High Court system is a great example of a municipal government leveraging the same technology to solve a different problem. Using video conferencing in the court room helps the Indian Government avoid logistics nightmares and save on travel and security costs when dealing with people accused of a crime.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi