Natasha Narwal
Natasha Narwal
Litigation News

Headphones to be provided to Natsha Narwal during video conference with lawyer, outsourced books allowed: Delhi HC disposes of plea

Narwal had moved a petition seeking a direction to the Tihar Jail authorities to allow her access to her counsel by way of video conferencing.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court was today informed that in order to ensure that no prison official is privy to their conversation, headphones would be provided to Pinjra Tod member Natsha Narwal when she is video conferencing with her lawyer (Natsha Narwal v. Superintendent, Central Jail 6 Tihar, NCT of Delhi & Anr).

The statement was made by Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra before a single Judge Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar.

Narwal is in judicial custody at Tihar Jail in connection with the Delhi riots cases.

Earlier this month, Narwal had moved a petition seeking a direction to the Tihar Jail authorities to allow her access to her counsel by way of video conferencing.

Subsequently, although the counsel for Narwal was allowed a legal interview with Narwal through video conferencing on one occasion, it was noticed that a prison official was within hearing range.

Counsel for Narwal Advocate Adit Pujari had thus contended that in the present case, Rule 627 of the Delhi Prison Rules was not being followed. This Rule permits prison officials to be within sight, but not within hearing range at the time of a legal interview.

Pujari had also sought directions to allow him to speak with Narwal twice a week for 30 minutes each. Directions to allow Narwal access to books and reading material was also prayed for.

Mehra today informed the Court that he had instructions from the Director General, Prisons on the issue. He stated that since it was not possible to completely vacate the video conferencing room, headphones would be provided to Narwal during the virtual meeting.

Pursuant to a request made by the counsel for Narwal, Mehra added that prison officials would be asked to allow "screen sharing" as well during the interview, which is conducted on the WebEx platform.

The Court was also assured that two weekly legal interviews of 30 minutes would be allowed for Narwal as far as possible, subject to adjustments.

Mehra also said that jail authorities had no objections to granting Narwal access to books which are outsourced as long as the material did not infract Prison Rules.

In view of the above, counsel for Narwal stated that all the grievances raised in the petition stood redressed.

"Litigation ended on a happy note", the Court said as it disposed of the petition.

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