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CCTV Systems In Police Stations Without Audio Recording Facility, Delhi HC Told

Justice Anu Malhotra, who had earlier said that the CCTV system installed in police stations should have audio as well as video footage in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court, thus directed that the Centre be made a party to the ongoing proceedings and observed that “it is essential that the said directions be complied with”.

The Delhi Police has told the Delhi High Court that presently, the CCTV systems installed in its stations here do not have an audio recording facility and the issue of their upgradation was pending before the central government.

Justice Anu Malhotra, who had earlier said that the CCTV system installed in police stations should have audio as well as video footage in terms of the directions of the Supreme Court, thus directed that the Centre be made a party to the ongoing proceedings and observed that “it is essential that the said directions be complied with”.

“The UOI through the Ministry of Home Affairs is directed to be arrayed as a party to the present petition,” said the court in its order dated August 1.

The court’s order was passed on a plea that alleged that the petitioner, who was the Imam of a masjid, was threatened and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by certain persons in the presence of the SHO in a police station.

The court had, in May, asked the Delhi Police to explain why the audio system was not installed so far in the police station concerned in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court.

Lawyer M Sufian Siddiqui, on behalf of the petitioner, said that the expeditious compliance of the court orders was necessary to preserve and uphold the primacy of the Rule of Law and to restore the faith of the people.

In its status report, the Delhi Police said that in 2018-2019, it installed 2127 CCTV cameras in 192 police stations and 53 police posts.

“Total 10 CCTV cameras are installed in each police station and 4/5 cameras in each police post depending upon the size of the post covering all the essential places of the police station/police post buildings. However, the CCTV system already installed in police stations and police posts, presently, does not have an audio recording facility,” said the status report.

The report said that a committee was constituted in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s directions and it was found that the existing system – which has night vision cameras and a video recording facility – can be upgraded to make provisions for audio recording.

It further said that there was a requirement of 2175 additional cameras, as well as other technical necessities such as more storage space, and the estimated cost for the implementation of the top court’s order was approximately 81 crore.

The report added that an external voice tag can be added to 1932 existing cameras and approximately 416 days will be required to implement the project.

The issues about approval for inviting the requisite tender were now under consideration before the Ministry of Home Affairs, the report informed.

The report added that an earlier e-bid, invited in December 2021, did not fructify after the technical committee concerned found that the participating firms were disqualified.

“That on 21.06.2022 on the basis of the report of the Technical Committee, Purchase Committee sent the proposal for obtaining approval of the competent authority in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for scrapping the earlier tender and approval for inviting fresh tender. The same is under consideration before the competent authority i.e Ministry of Home Affairs,” the report said.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 27 and sought an updated status report from Delhi Police.

The petitioner, in his plea, has alleged that a “self-styled caretaker”, who was “illegally” managing the masjid, had threatened him with dire consequences and subjected him to inhuman and degrading treatment in the presence of the SHO in the police station.

He has claimed that the entire incident was captured in the CCTV cameras installed inside the SHO’s room but no consequent legal action was taken and thus sought the preservation of the CCTV footage, both audio and video.

(PTI)


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