The court says issue of increasing police force shuttling between Home and Finance ministries
Continuing with its efforts to make Delhi safe for women, the Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to ensure that CCTVs are installed at all vulnerable areas in the city within eight weeks and all dark spots are lit up while stressing against shuttling the issue of augmenting the police force between ministries.
A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva was informed by the Delhi government on Monday that procurement process is underway for the purchase of 1.4 lakh cameras in pursuance of the court’s September 23, 2015, order wherein the government had assured that CCTVs would be procured and installed at the relevant spots/places identified by the police.
At this, the court ordered, “Directions are, hereby, issued to the Delhi Government (through the concerned Department, i.e. PWD and any other agency, which may be mandated to carry out the task) and the Delhi Police to coordinate upon this issue. The Delhi Police shall indicate or prepare a list of the areas/spots where the CCTV cameras are to be installed for this purpose”.
“The Government of NCT of Delhi shall ensure that the procurement of CCTV cameras is completed and the CCTV cameras are installed in the vulnerable areas in coordination with the Delhi Police within eight weeks from today,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police, represented by four senior officers, i.e. three Special Commissioners of Police and a Joint Commissioner of Police, submitted before the bench that the police is in the process of compilation of report with respect to 10 police stations where CCTVs were installed and that in 2003-04, 108 police stations were equipped with CCTVs (without recording facilities) and an appropriate attempt would be made to procure CCTVs with the facility of recording for all 192 police stations.
To this, the court was of the opinion that “while at the stage of procurement and operationalization, the Delhi Police should also ensure that CCTV footage of the cameras, installed in these police stations, is saved with reasonable archivable time of 1 to 3 months”.
It directed that CCTVs be installed in police chowkis also, after being informed that 42 police chowkis were being treated as police stations.
The court directed that on December 14, the next date of hearing, the Delhi Police shall indicate the location, by description, of the CCTV cameras to be installed in the police stations and ensure that public areas are also covered.
The court order comes on three petitions – one of which was taken up suo motu by the court after the December 16 gangrape case and two other petitions moved by Ajay Gautam and Nandita Dhar.
Light Up Dark Spots
The court’s attention was brought to the existence of dark spots in the city which prove to be a playing field for criminals.
The bench then directed all agencies concerned “to ensure that the existing dark spots are removed (lit up)”.
“A report in this regard shall be filed by the Government of NCT of Delhi in consultation with all the concerned agencies. The concerned Municipal Corporations, i.e. the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporations, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, NDMC, the Delhi Cantonment, Delhi Development Authority, the PWD, Irrigation and Flood Control Department are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the Delhi Government/Delhi Police in this regard for the preparation of the report and implementation of this direction,” it ordered.
“In addition, the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Delhi Police should coordinate and ensure the creation of one nodal agency which can be notified by the concerned parties i.e. the Police, Municipal Agency or the members of public in the eventuality of malfunction of public lighting. This Body or agency should also ensure the replacement/repair of such a public utility within the time frame of, say, 72 hours,” the bench said.
Augmentation of Police Force
The court also noticed that several orders have been passed over months for increasing the strength of police force.
“As against the initial proposal for creation of 66,000 additional posts, ex-facie clearance was mooted for 14,753, of which, ultimately, 12,000 posts have been proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs but not yet cleared by the Ministry of Finance. Earlier, 4,227 posts were sanctioned and the process of filling them is underway,” the bench noted.
“Having regard to the facts that the proposal for augmenting of the police force has been shuttling back and forth between the Union Home Ministry on the one hand and the Union Finance Ministry, on the other hand, the Court is of the opinion that, within the next six weeks, concerted efforts, with all individual inputs and involvement of all the concerned personnel/officials, should be undertaken at the highest departmental level, i.e. the Secretary level of the two Ministries and a final decision should be indicated as expeditiously as possible and not later than six weeks from today,” it ordered.