23 Feb 2023 7:12 AM GMT
The Supreme Court has directed the Centre, States and Union Territories to show the status of complaince with respect to its December 2020 order to install CCTV cameras in all police stations and offices of investigative agencies, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Directorate of Enforcement, and the National Investigation Agency, that conduct investigations and have the power...
The Supreme Court has directed the Centre, States and Union Territories to show the status of complaince with respect to its December 2020 order to install CCTV cameras in all police stations and offices of investigative agencies, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Directorate of Enforcement, and the National Investigation Agency, that conduct investigations and have the power of arrest.
More than two years ago, a bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman had the directives for installation of CCTV cameras to curb instances of custodial torture. This week, a bench of Justices B.R. Gavai, Vikram Nath, and Sanjay Karol asked the appropriate governments to file their compliance reports within March 29. Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave, the amicus curiae in the matter, reported to the Court that many of the agencies under the Union of India and various State Governments have not complied with the directions.
Non-compliance with the directions of the court, the Court cautioned, would result in ‘necessary steps’ against the concerned officials.
"We clarify that, in the event the directions, as issued by this Court, are not complied with by the Union of India and the respective State Governments/Union Territories, we shall be compelled to take such steps as found necessary against the Secretary (Home), Union of India as well as the Chief Secretary and the Secretary (Home) of the respective State Governments".
The matter will be next considered on April 18. The Court also directed the Secretary (Home), Union of India to communicate this order to all the Chief Secretaries as well as the Home Secretaries of the respective States and the Union Territories.
In 2020, the bench led by Justice Nariman had categorically stated that the said directions would have to be implemented “both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible” by the concerned executive, administrative, or police authorities since they were issued “in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”. The court also noted with dismay that “nothing substantial” had been accomplished in this regard over a period of almost three years since their first order in April 2018. In March 2021, the court criticised the union government for ‘dragging their feet’ in the matter.
As per the directions, CCTV cameras are to be installed, inter alia, at all entry and exit points including the main gate of the police station, in front of the police station compound as well as the back portion of the police station, in the lobbies or reception areas, corridors, verandas or outhouses, station halls, and rooms belonging to the inspectors, sub-inspectors, and duty officers, inside and outside lock-up rooms, and outside washrooms. The surveillance systems must be equipped with night vision and should be able to transmit both video and audio footage. Victims of custodial torture, the court had asserted, would have the right to seek the CCTV footage of interrogation by police and other federal agencies.
Case Title : Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh | Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 3542 of 2020
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 134
CCTV Installation in police stations and investigative agencies : Supreme Court asks States, UTs and Union Government to file compliance affidavits before March 29.
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