NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK
The applicant NGO was concerned about rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims who were victims of trafficking in this case. In the application it was pleaded that, for the purpose of prosecution evidence, compelling the said victims to come to Delhi from distant places, where they have now been rehabilitated, would not only cause immense inconvenience to them, it will also be detrimental to their personal lives. However, the victims were willing to have their statements recorded by means of video conferencing from the stations they were residing/rehabilitated.
The applicant NGO Prajwala herein sought a direction to an Additional Sessions Judge, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi to record evidence of some of the witnesses in a case arising out of FIR No’s. 144/2002 and 110/2002 under Sections 376/365/368/34 IPC as the trial court had declined an application for said purpose. The request was declined because of the reason that neither the State Government nor his Court have the facility of video conferencing and, therefore, allowing such an application at this juncture would consume a lot of time, with the result that the trial would be delayed.
The Applicant NGO submitted that the Principal Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh; Women Development, Child Welfare and Disabled Welfare Department had communicated to them that the Andhra Pradesh government had arrangements for video conferencing at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan, New Delhi and the said facility could be made available for recording the statements of the witnesses.
The Court held that “In the light of the afore-noted scenario and bearing in mind the fact that it will definitely be inconvenient for the witnesses, placed in peculiar circumstances, to come to Delhi for the purpose of recording of their statements, we feel that it is a fit case where their evidence could be recorded by video conferencing.” Accordingly, it directed that the Trial Court should fix a date for recording the statements of the witnesses, based in Andhra Pradesh by video conferencing. It stressed that the learned Judge would keep in mind the safeguards, enumerated in the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra Vs. Dr. Praful B. Desai (2003) 4 SCC 601.
For the purpose of video conferencing the State of Andhra Pradesh was directed to “produce the witnesses summoned and make them available for the purposes of recording their evidence by video conferencing. They will also make all necessary arrangements for recording of the evidence by video conferencing in Andhra Pradesh Bhawan.”