A video conference is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two way video and audio transmission simultaneously. It has also been called visual collaboration and is a type of groupware.
In Indian courts evidence is recorded under the provisions of Indian evidence act, 1872 under sections 230 to 234 and 284 of Cr.P.C, 1973. Besides this there are several other minor provisions dealing with recording of evidence under Cr.P.C. including some other minor Acts. In civil proceedings order 18 rule 4(3) is applicable for taking assistance of videoconferencing. In general Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 with Information Technology Act, 2000 is applicable on video conferencing. Recently, Code Of Criminal Procedure has been amended in some states to allow use of video conferencing for the purpose of giving remand of accused thereby eliminating need for their physical presence before the magistrate.
In criminal case video conferencing can be used in jury trial, remand cases, hearing of bail application, initial appearance and where it is fatal to take the accused out of jail etc.
In 2003 our apex court had approved examination of witnesses in criminal case through video conferencing.
In Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation v. NRI Film Production Associates (P) Ltd case court held that sufficient safeguards have to be provided for the purpose of recording evidence through Audio Video I Link. Abdul Karim Telgi case was the first case in which entire trial was conducted through videoconferencing.
Law Commission of India in its 185th report has said that the time is not ripe for such legislation. In a bill presented before rajya sabha it had been proposed that magistrate may extend detention of an accused in judicial custody through the medium of electronic video linkages except for the first time where the production of the accused in person is required.
Law Commission and National Human Rights Commission both has supported that victim (rape of child) be recorded by video conferencing. Video conferencing is a very good tool in justice administration for saving time and transportation charges including preventing other inconveniences.
Videoconferencing may be a tool of speedy trial and speedy justice guaranteed under Article-21 of The Indian Constitution. Videoconferencing trial should be promoted as it can be an instrument of speedy justice. In present there is no law regarding videoconferencing in India. Although our courts have permitted videoconferencing in some matters but a specific law should be enacted because it is necessity of time.