SC Unhappy With Centre’s Approach On CCTV Cameras In Courts; Seeks Status Report

SC Unhappy With Centre’s Approach On CCTV Cameras In Courts; Seeks Status Report

“Why such a callous attitude towards this issue. This is a serious issue. You file status report of CCTV installations in tribunals by next date of hearing”

·SC appointed senior advocate Sidharth Luthra as amicus curiae

 During the hearing of the plea filed by Pradyuman Bisht seeking audio and video recording of court proceedings in order to bring transparency, the Supreme Court has accused the Centre of adopting a callous approach on the issue

The bench of justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit is of the view that the work towards installing CCTVs in courts and tribunals is not happening at the desired pace.

The bench yesterday sought a status report from the Centre on the work done till now.

“Look, We would like to first see the response of the pilot project of CCTV installations in trial courts and tribunals and only then would look for the possibility in high courts and the Supreme Court. Why such a callous attitude towards this issue. This is a serious issue. You file status report of CCTV installations in tribunals by next date of hearing”, the  bench told the Centre’s counsel.

The bench appointed senior advocate Sidharth Luthra as amicus curiae to assist in the matter.

Bisht’s lawyer said: “Like trial courts and tribunals, the Supreme Court should also pass orders for installation of CCTV cameras in high courts and the Supreme Court

The bench replied:”This is a pilot project in which we allowed CCTV installations in trial courts and tribunals. Let the response of this project come and then we will explore the possibility of installations of devices in high courts and the Supreme Court

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand had on November 23 submitted before the Supreme Court bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice UU Lalit the status report on the compliance with the order dated August 14 of the same bench regarding the the installation of CCTV cameras in all subordinate courts across India.

The ASG had also submitted before the bench that the Ministry of Information and Technology had, in consultation with the e-committee of the apex court, laid down the technical specifications, price range and source of supply for the CCTV cameras to be installed, as required under the order of August 14. Anand further satisfied the court that the Ministry of Law and Justice had written to the registrars general of high courts, the chief secretaries of state governments and the administrators of UTs with regard to the installation of CCTVs with audio recording in all district courts within their jurisdiction. An affidavit of the Deputy Secretary, Department of Justice, Government of India, in respect of the same was filed

The status report, revealing the progress of 15 high courts, shows that the Allahabad High Court has defined three phases to undertake the installation of CCTV cameras in all districts of Uttar Pradesh in a scheduled manner, the Calcutta High Court is awaiting the sanction of the state government to float a tender in respect of the 6 identified districts, the installation is complete in respect of 2 districts in Delhi, and the tendering process has been successfully executed in Gujarat and all districts are expected to be equipped with CCTVs by March.