NEW DELHI—In an important ruling, the Supreme Court has ordered all investigating agencies to install CCTV cameras and provide a copy of CCTV footage of interrogation.
The order has been given on a special leave petition filed by one Paramvir Singh Saini raising the issue of audio-video recording of statements and installation of CCTV cameras in police stations generally across the country.
The judgement given by a bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, KM Joseph and Anirudh Bose directed the Central government to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in offices of all central agencies including 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) as also others.
The bench also directed that the states and union territory governments should ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in each and every police station functioning under them.
The order said that in case of human rights violation by investigating agencies like CBI, NIA and others, the victims have a right to get a copy of the CCTV footage of interrogation to take cognizance of an offence.
“As most of these agencies carry out interrogations in their offices, CCTVS shall be compulsorily installed in all offices where such interrogations and holding of accused takes place in the same manner as it would in a police station”, the bench observed.
The order said that the CCTV footage of interrogation be preserved at least for a minimum of six months and “the victims has a right to have the same secured in the event of violation of his human rights”.
The first order in this regard was given by the Supreme Court in 2018 in Shafi Mohammed vs State of Himachal Pradesh and it was to be introduced from July 15, 2018 as per apex court orders. However, it was not done.
“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 two and a half 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”, the judgement said.
The bench also observed that the states and union territory government should ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in each and every police station functioning under them.