Source - India Legal
The Supreme Court has directed Centre to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and any other agency which carries out interrogation and has powers to arrest the accused. "Most important of all is the storage of CCTV camera footage which can be done in digital video recorders and/or network video recorders. CCTV cameras must then be installed with such recording systems so that the data that is stored shall be preserved for a period of 18 months," the Supreme Court said. The Apex Court has directed that CCTV footage should be preserved for at least six months and the victim has a right to have the same secured in the event of violation of his human rights. A three-judge bench headed by Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, KM Joseph and Aniruddha Bose has pronounced its verdict on a plea by Paramvir Singh Saini, who has raised the issue of audio-video recording of statements and of the installation of CCTV cameras in police stations. The SC has issued directions for constitution of state and district level oversight committees for installation and maintenance of CCTVs in police stations across all states and UTs and also directed finance departments of all states and UTs to allocate funds for the project.
The state and Union Territory governments should ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in each and every police station functioning in their respective jurisdictions. Further, to ensure that no part of a police station is left uncovered, it is imperative to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed at all entry and exit points; main gate of the police station; all lock-ups; all corridors; lobby/the reception area; all verandas/outhouses, Inspector’s room; Sub Inspectors' rooms; areas outside the lock-up room; station hall; in front of the police station compound; outside (not inside) washrooms/toilets; duty officer’s room; back part of the police station, etc. CCTV systems installed must be equipped with night vision and must necessarily consist of audio as well as video footage. In areas in which there is either no electricity and/or internet, it shall be the duty of the states/Union Territories to provide the same as expeditiously as possible using any mode of providing electricity, including solar/wind power. If the recording equipment, available in the market today, does not have the capacity to keep the recording for 18 months but for a shorter period of time, it is mandatory for all states, Union Territories and the Central government to purchase one which allows storage for the maximum period possible, and, in any case, not below one year.
It is also made clear that this will be reviewed by all the states so as to purchase equipment which is able to store the data for 18 months as soon as it is commercially available in the market. The affidavit of compliance to be filed by all states and Union Territories and Central government should clearly indicate that the best equipment available as of date has been purchased. Whenever there is information of force being used at police stations resulting in serious injury and/or custodial deaths, it is necessary that persons be free to complain for a redressal of the same.