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Breaking- Victims Of Human Rights Violations By Police/NIA/CBI/ED Have The Right For CCTV Footage Of Interrogation:Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
2 Dec 2020 4:15 PM GMT
Breaking- Victims Of Human Rights Violations By Police/NIA/CBI/ED Have The Right For CCTV Footage Of Interrogation:Supreme Court
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"A person has a right to complain about human rights violations to the National/State Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Court or the Superintendent of Police or any other authority empowered to take cognizance of an offence. It shall further mention that CCTV footage is preserved for a certain minimum time period, which shall not be less than six months, and the victim has a right to have the same secured in the event of violation of his human rights."

In a path-breaking Judgment, the Supreme Court has in case of any human right violation by investigating agencies like police, CBI, NIA, ED Etc, the victims have the right to get the copy of CCTV footage of interrogation and also to approach the National/State Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Court or the Superintendent of Police or any other authority empowered to take cognizance of...

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In a path-breaking Judgment, the Supreme Court has in case of any human right violation by investigating agencies like police, CBI, NIA, ED Etc, the victims have the right to get the copy of CCTV footage of interrogation and also to approach the National/State Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Court or the Superintendent of Police or any other authority empowered to take cognizance of an offence.

The Supreme Court has  directed the Central Government to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of Central Agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)

The court observed that it should also be installed in the offices of any other agency which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest.

"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 comprising Justices RF Nariman, KM Joseph and Aniruddha Bose observed.

The Central Government was also asked to file an affidavit on the constitution and workings of the Central Oversight Body.  The court added that the COB has to perform the same function as the SLOC for the offices of investigative/enforcement agencies both in Delhi and outside Delhi wherever they be located.

"The SLOC and the COB  shall give directions to all Police Stations, investigative/enforcement agencies to prominently display at the entrance and inside the police stations/offices of investigative/enforcement agencies about the coverage of the concerned premises by CCTV. This shall be done by large posters in English, Hindi and vernacular language. In addition to the above, it shall be clearly mentioned therein that a person has a right to complain about human rights violations to the National/State Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Court or the Superintendent of Police or any other authority empowered to take cognizance of an offence. It shall further mention that CCTV footage is preserved for a certain minimum time period, which shall not be less than six months, and the victim has a right to have the same secured in the event of violation of his human rights.", the bench added.

The court issued these directives while disposing SLP filed by one Paramvir Singh Saini, which raised issues regarding audio-video recordings of statements and the installation of CCTV cameras in police stations generally. The court, while impleading the states and Union Territories, had noted that in Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh (2018) 5 SCC 311, it was directed that the first phase of implementation of crime scene videography must be introduced by 15th July, 2018, at least at some places as per viability and priority determined by the COB. It was also directed therein that with a view to check human rights abuse, CCTV cameras be installed in all police stations as well as in prisons.

"Since these directions are in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and since nothing substantial has been done in this regard for a period of over 2½ years since our first Order dated 03.04.2018, the Executive/Administrative/police authorities are to implement this Order both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible. Affidavits will be filed by the Principal Secretary/Cabinet Secretary/Home Secretary of each State/ Union Territory giving this Court a firm action plan with exact timelines for compliance with today's Order. This is to be done within a period of six weeks from today." the bench said in the judgment.

The court has also observed that the State and Union Territory Governments should ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in each and every Police Station functioning under them.

Senior Advocate Siddhartha Dave was the amicus curiae in the case.

PARAMVIR SINGH SAINI vs. BALJIT SINGH [SLP (CRIMINAL) NO.3543 of 2020]
CORAM: Justice RF Nariman, KM Joseph and Aniruddha Bose

Click here to Read/Download Judgment

 


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