SC Directs for Coordination with Jail Department, Says Collated Data Be Forwarded for Updating E-Prison Module

E-prison module, a comprehensive jail management system, is being used by 1,292 prisons across the country and holds the records of 1.88 crore prisoners, the Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday.

The apex court took stock of the implementation of e-prison module by the legal services authorities and directed proper coordination with the jail department. It said the collated data regarding criminal appeals and bail applications should be forwarded for updating the module.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul was told by advocate Devansh A Mohta, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae in the matter, about his March 28 report on the implementation of the e-prison module.

Mohta has said in his report that e-prison is a comprehensive jail management system and it is customisable as per the needs of the state prison departments.

He said as of now, the e-prison module is being used by 1,292 prisons and holds the records of 1.88 crore prisoners.

The bench, also comprising Justices A Amanullah and Aravind Kumar, noted it has been submitted before the court that category A authorities, who have implemented the pilot project, are either collating or have already collated data regarding criminal appeals and bail applications as part of the pilot project.

“We thus consider appropriate to direct that there should be a coordination with the prison department and the collated data should be forwarded for updating the e-prison module,” the bench said in its order.

The top court, which is hearing the pleas, including the one it has taken up on its own, regarding policy strategy for grant of bail, noted the amicus has sought directions that the pilot project and the e-prison module may be extended to the remaining (category B) legal services authorities and the state governments may be directed to report compliance regarding the e-prison update module.

“In order to facilitate the process as mentioned aforesaid, we accept the suggestion and issue the aforesaid directions,” it said.

The bench noted another suggestion made in the report is that populating the e-prison portal with details perfectly entered would be the only way to render the data dynamic and ready for optimum utilisation.

It said it has been submitted that adoption of information sharing protocol may be necessary in order to ensure that case record and prison record are not only fully integrated but timely updated.

“It is thus suggested that the NIC (National informatics Centre) may look into the aspect of such adoption of information sharing protocol and a draft in pursuance thereto may be prepared and placed before this court with advance copies to the amicus curiae. We order accordingly,” the bench said, and posted the matter for July 25 for resumed hearing.

The report filed by the amicus said in Andhra Pradesh, the information pertaining to undertrial review committee, bail granted but not released, criminal appeals, premature release of convicts as well as legal aid cases and custody certificates have been uploaded on the e-prison portal.

In Chhattisgarh, it has been informed that there are 2,304 convicts in five central prisons, and as of February 25 this year, record of 2,087 convicts have been updated on the e-prison portal.

Regarding Delhi, the report said, it has been informed that a list of 414 criminal appeals being handled by them has been shared with DG prison out of which the record of 50 appeals have been updated on the module.

It said the district legal services authority (DLSAs) in Delhi has been asked to collate the list of undertrial prisoners/convicts to whom legal aid has been provided and take steps to ensure that portal is updated.

Regarding Maharashtra, the report said, the authorities have not reported any compliance in respect of e-prison module so far.

“Further, it is essential that exercise of optimising e-prison portal is undertaken in all the states including integration of the case record with the prisoner details on the e-prison portal in order to fully intergrate the 1.88 cr inmate record with the record of cases pending,” it said.

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