Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 2
In a move aimed at checking police brutality, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered, the Centre, states and union territories to install CCTVs with night vision cameras in each police station, including central probe agencies such as CBI, ED, NIA etc across India.
“The state and union territory governments should ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in each and every police station functioning in the respective state and/or union territory. In addition, the Union of India is also directed to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of: CBI, NIA, ED, NCB, DRI, SFIO and any other agency which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest,” a Bench headed by Justice RF Rohinton said.
The CCTV systems “must be equipped with night vision and must necessarily consist of audio as well as video footage”.
The SHO of the police station concerned shall be responsible for the working, maintenance and recording of CCTVs, it added.
It also ordered constitution of oversight committees at state and district levels for this purpose.
In areas without electricity and/or internet, the states/UTs have to provide the same as expeditiously as possible using any mode of providing electricity, including solar/wind power, it said.
The order came in a case relating to CCTV installation in police stations and examination of witnesses by police. The CCTV installation was revived by the top court following a case of custodial torture in Punjab.
It said CCTV camera footage should be stored in digital video recorders and/or network video recorders. Importantly, the recording system should be such that the data stored therein is preserved for 18 months.
“If the recording equipment, available in the market today, does not have the capacity to keep the recording for 18 months but for a lesser period of time, it shall be mandatory for all states, union territories and the Central government to purchase one which allows storage for the maximum period possible,” it noted.
The top court said in case of serious injury and/or custodial deaths, the injured persons be free to complain to the State Human Rights Commission as also to Human Rights Courts, which must then be set up in each district of every state/UY under Section 30 of the Human Rights Act.