Numerous reports had been released on the quarantining of Magistrates and Police Officers after interacting with COVID-19 positive prisoners. This prompted the Kerala High Court on 25.05.2020 to issue an official memorandum mentioning these concerns. It recommended the usage of electronic mediums for production of accused before the Magistrates.
Vulnerable State of Magistrates and Court Staff
The memorandum notes incidents in several parts of the State where the Magistrates tested positive for COVID-19 after the police produced an accused before them.
Following this, the Magistrates concerned had to go into quarantine. The same concern affects Police officials as well. This indicates the grave vulnerability of Magistrates, police officers and other Court staff towards the disease.
Direction to Produce the Accused using Electronic Video Linkage
Thus, the High Court has directed the State Police Chief to direct police personnel to produce the accused persons before Magistrates through electronic video linkage facility. This applies even when the production is for the first time. The memorandum further directs Magistrates and Special Judges to allow the production of the arrested accused, either under a warrant or otherwise, “through the appropriate electronic medium using Desktop/Laptop/Mobile or any such electronic linkage as may be available.”
District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates to Communicate and Supervise
The High Court directed District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates to communicate the directions to all the Magistrates and Special Judges. They also ordered them to give necessary guidance and required help.
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