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Supreme Court directs Centre, States to install CCTV cameras in police stations within 3 months

All the police stations of different States and Union territories along with offices of investigative agencies, such as the CBI, ED and NIA, that conduct investigations and have the power of arrest have been given three months by the Supreme Court to comply with its December, 2020 order to install CCTV cameras.

Stating that though the Court is “not inclined to take a stricter action at this stage”, the Court directed all the state governments/union territories and Union of India to file their respective affidavits prior to 18.07.2023 stating therein that the compliance, in effect, has been made.

The Court, however, made it clear that the Chief Secretary/Administrator of such of the state government/union territory which fails to comply with the directions and not file the required affidavit prior to 18.07.2023, shall personally remain present in the Court on the next date of hearing, to show cause as to why an action for committing contempt should not be taken against them

The Court also expressed that it is disheartening to note that insofar as Union of India is concerned, out of seven investigating agencies no steps of sincere nature have been taken in case of four investigating agencies”.

The Court has directed the also to comply with the aforesaid directions in respect of its agencies prior to the aforesaid date and file an affidavit of compliance, prior to 18.07.2023, adding that in case of failure on the part of the Union of India to do so, the Secretary (Home), Union of India, shall remain personally present before the Court on the next date of hearing, to show cause as to why an action for committing contempt should not be taken against them

On February 21, the Court had directed Centre, states and union territories to show the status of compliance with respect to its December, 2020 order where a bench headed by Justice R. F. Nariman had issued directives for installation of CCTV cameras to curb instances of custodial torture.

On February 21, the Court had asked the appropriate governments to file their compliance reports within March 29.

When the matter came up on April 18, the bench of Justices B. R. Gavai and Vikram Nath noted Amicus Curiae Siddharth Dave’s report giving details in a tabulated form about the affidavits filed by the Union of India, various state governments/union territories.

“The Report would reveal that two Union Territories i.e. Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar and Union Territory of Ladakh as well as the states of Mizoram and Goa have fully complied with the directions issued by this Court i.e. making budgetary allocations as well as actual installation of the CCTV cameras.

However, insofar as Union of India and other 26 state governments/Union Territories are concerned, the Report would show that either there is non-compliance with both the aspects or non- compliance with one of them. In so far as states of Kerala, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu and Union Territory of Lakshadweep are concerned, they have not even filed the affidavits pointing out the present status.

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