You’ve got bail: Supreme Court to directly email orders to jails

Authorities want to conduct security audits to ensure that the system is secure, and that the SC’s orders cannot be tampered with, before they formally unveil it

'In this age of information and communication technology, we are still looking at the skies for the pigeons to communicate the orders' the court said

The Supreme Court’s new system of electronically transmitting bail orders directly to jail authorities on the day they are issued will soon be launched, according to a report.

The authorities want to conduct security audits to ensure that the system is secure, and that the SC’s orders cannot be tampered with, before they formally unveil it, The Print website quoted sources as saying on Wednesday (July 28).

The development will come as a relief to those who have secured bail from the highest court in the land but typically have to wait for days before they are released. Under the current set-up jail authorities insist on receiving bail orders by post, leading to days-long lags.

Chief Justice NV Ramana had announced the new system on July 16, less than two weeks ago, while hearing a case on the delay in releasing 13 prisoners in Agra even after they were granted bail. The jail authorities waited for the bail order to arrive by post to free the convicts — who had already served 14 to 22 years in prison.

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“In this age of information and communication technology, we are still looking at the skies for the pigeons to communicate the orders,” the CJI had said.

While announcing the system, the chief justice had sought a comprehensive report within two weeks.

An official told The Print that in future the SC’s orders would be emailed directly to the jail where the person who has been granted bail is lodged, as well as the district court under whose jurisdiction the prison is located.

There are more than 1,300 jails in India and all have internet connectivity.

“Similarly, even the district courts are today equipped with good internet connection. Therefore, emailing of orders the moment they are signed is the best way to make sure there is no delay in release of those given bail,” The Print quoted the official as saying.

Under the new system, a unique user ID will be created for the authorised sender stationed at the SC, as well as for the person who will be responsible for receiving the mail at prisons and district courts.

“This will make sure only authorised persons are allowed exclusive access to this communication. Not everyone would be able to retrieve the orders sent through mails. This will fix accountability and prevent misuse of the system. The order will be e-mailed once it is digitally signed by the judges who deliver it,” the official said.

The jail authorities will be able to confirm the authenticity of the orders by clicking on a link provided in the same mail.

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