New criminal laws: Chandigarh to introduce video conferencing stations for witness participation - Hindustan Times
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New criminal laws: Chandigarh to introduce video conferencing stations for witness participation

ByNaina Mishra, Chandigarh
Jun 15, 2024 09:54 AM IST

The three newly enacted laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) — will come into effect from July 1

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SSP Kanwardeep Kaur addressing the media regarding the three new criminal laws at UT Guest House in Chandigarh on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
SSP Kanwardeep Kaur addressing the media regarding the three new criminal laws at UT Guest House in Chandigarh on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

Chandigarh is set to revolutionise its judicial and law enforcement processes by notifying Video Conferencing (VC) stations, which will allow both private and public individuals to participate as witnesses in legal proceedings.

“These VC stations will be established at all police stations, courts, prisons, hospitals, Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office and Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s (SDM) office,” said SSP Kanwardeep Kaur, while addressing the media regarding the three new criminal laws at the UT Guest House.

The three newly enacted laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) — will come into effect from July 1.

Under the new system, any individual who witnesses a crime can go to any of the designated VC stations to provide their testimony. The platform, named “Naya Shruti,” will facilitate video conferencing for trials, where witnesses and evidence can be examined digitally. The initiative involves five key verticals: courts, prisons, hospitals, police stations and forensic labs.

On the day of a trial, a link will be generated and shared with all relevant verticals, enabling all parties concerned to join the video conferencing session to provide evidence.

Kaur said, “The training of investigating officers has been ongoing since January, with support from the Chandigarh Judicial Academy and the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), which designed the training programmes. Daily briefings and training sessions are being conducted at the police station level to ensure all officers are prepared for the July 1 launch.”

App to help record search and seizures

In addition to the VC stations, a new app called “E-Sakshay” has been developed to assist investigating officers in recording search and seizures at crime scenes. This app, provided to Chandigarh Police, will function on mobile tablets given to officers, allowing them to make videos and take pictures with GPS and time-tagging.

This ensures the evidence is authentic and that the investigating officer was present at the crime scene. The hash value of this digital evidence will be preserved to prevent tampering and for providing unaltered evidence to the court. The hash value will ensure that the evidence is tamper-proof. If anyone tries to alter the digital evidence, the hash value will change, indicating that the evidence has been modified.

To further bolster the digital investigation infrastructure, all police stations have been equipped with computers and tablets. Starting July 1, police stations will also hold awareness programmes to educate the public about these new initiatives.

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