Supreme Court Issues Strict Directions To Install CCTVs In All Police Stations In A Timely Manner; Expresses Displeasure Over Lack Of Compliance By Union Government


Supreme Court Issues Strict Directions To Install CCTVs In All Police Stations In A Timely Manner; Expresses Displeasure Over Lack Of Compliance By Union Government

GENERAL OVERVIEW

  • The Supreme Court expressed disappointment and displeasure at the non compliance of the Central Government- to whom orders were directed to install CCTVs in the agencies that carry out interrogations and have the power of arrest, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).
  • "Our orders should have been followed in letter and spirit", the Court observed.
  • The Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy emphasized that it is a matter of utmost importance that concerns the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

BACKGROUND

  • On 3rd December 2020, the Apex Court instructed all State Governments and Union Territories to ensure that CCTVs that are equipped with night vision be installed in each and every police station.
  • Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman contended that it was of utmost importance to ensure that CCTVs were installed at every entry and exit points, corridors, main gates, lobbies and outside the washrooms, and in the general areas outside the compound, the cells/lock up rooms, as well as in every  room within the station. 
  • “As most of these agencies carry out interrogation in their office(s), CCTVs shall be compulsorily installed in all offices where such interrogation and holding of accused takes place in the same manner as it would in a police station,” the Bench stated.
  • The Bench also directed the State Level Oversight Committee (SLOC) to ensure that all enforcement agencies must display a notice informing people about the coverage of the CCTVs.
  • Such display must also mention their right to complaint about violation of human rights to any authority that can take cognizance of the offence, as well as the fact that the footage from the same CCTVs will only be preserved for a time period of six (6) months or less, and the victim can secure the footage, in case of the violation of his human rights.
  • The Court also asked for a compliance report within six weeks from the Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary of each State/Union Territory, containing a firm plan of action, along with the exact timelines of their compliance of the Bench's orders.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW?

  • “Paragraph 19 of our order dated 02.12.2020 has not yet been followed,” the Court expressed, when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought for an adjournment. 
  • The Bench disapproved the adjournment, stating that there is no justification in asking one again. 
  • The Court expressed displeasure in the Court's work, or rather, the lack of work, in implementing the Court's direct orders "in letter and spirit."
  • “We are most displeased with this affidavit. It shows a complete lack of any regard for the citizens’ fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and for our orders," the Court stated, referring to the affidavit filed by the Bihar Government which does not mention the amount of funds that had to be allocated, or any timeline, and granted a total of nine (9) months to implement the orders.
  • The Court directed all State governments and Union Territories to allocate funds for this purpose, and took into consideration the large geographical area of Uttar Pradesh, and granted the place six months to implement orders, after the allocation of budget (a process of 3 months) takes place. 

DO YOU AGREE THAT THIS IS A NECESSARY STEP? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
 

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