The Supreme Court on Thursday approved the use of an electronic system called FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) for transmission of e-authenticated copies of orders, expressing concern about the plight of jail inmates who have not been released despite bail orders being issued due to delays in communication of such orders.
“It is high time to make use of ICT technologies for effective transmission of Court decisions,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana remarked.
The bench has said that the necessary amendments to the Supreme Court of India’s Rules and Procedure for the system’s inclusion would be dealt with on an administrative level.
In a suo motu case, a bench consisting of CJI Ramana, Justice Nageswara Rao, and Justice Surya Kant issued the orders to address the problem of convicts being released after being granted bail.
Through a secure electronic communication channel, the FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) system proposes transmitting e-authenticated copies of interim orders, stay orders, bail orders, and records of proceedings to duty-holders for compliance and proper execution.
The Supreme Court’s Bench has directed the Director-General, National Informatics Centre, Secretary (Home), and the Director-General or Inspector General of Prisons of all States and Union Territories to ensure that the FASTER system is implemented smoothly and successfully, and to coordinate with the Supreme Court’s Registry in this regard.
The Bench has ordered all duty-holders to immediately modify their rules, procedures, practises, and directives to recognise the e-authenticated copy of the Top Court’s order sent to them via the FASTER system and follow the instructions contained therein.
The Supreme Court has also ordered the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories to guarantee that each and every prison has access to high-speed internet and to take immediate measures to provide it where it is not already accessible. Until then, communication is to be routed via the FASTER system’s Nodal Officers in state governments.
After reviewing the proposal presented by the Supreme Court’s Secretary-General, which included modalities for implementation as well as pre-requisites and timeframes for working out the pre-requisites for system implementation, the Court has ordered that the FASTER system be implemented.