Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 1
In a significant order to ensure just and expeditious decisions on bail pleas, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the initiation of the process of giving e-custody certificates that will provide correct and complete details of all cases pending against a convict or an undertrial. Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan has set a month’s deadline for the purpose.
A custody certificate reflects the period of imprisonment undergone by a convict or an undertrial and his involvement in other previous cases. The certificate is taken into consideration by a Judge while deciding the issue of bail. The issuance of an e-custody certificate would not only make it readily available to the Bench and others concerned, but also provide accurate and complete information to the Judge during the decision making process.
In his detailed order, Justice Sangwan directed the initiation of process to activate e-custody certificate module of e-prisons on the pattern of “Phoenix” application of Haryana prisons. Directions were also issued to the state of Punjab through the Chief Secretary, the Advocate-General and Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) to apply to the High Court for availing the application programming interfaces (API) for integration with e-Prisons.
Justice Sangwan also asked the central project coordinator of the High Court to recommend and forward the request to e-committee of the Supreme Court for further processing. Justice Sangwan directed the Punjab Chief Secretary to provide access to all prisons department-related data to the Punjab Advocate-General to review it on a timely basis.
Punjab Deputy Advocate General Joginder Pal Ratra and Haryana Deputy Advocate-General Himmat Singh have been appointed as amicus curiae to monitor the initiation process.
“A status report be filed by the amicus curiae, Punjab Advocate General, Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab and the Additional Director General of Police, Punjab,” Justice Sangwan asserted. The case will now come up for further hearing in March next year.