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Instal CCTVs at all thanas and offices of CBI, NIA, ED, NCB: SC | India News

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NEW DELHI: In an order of far-reaching significance, the Supreme Court on Wednesday put the police, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Department of Revenue Intelligence and Serious Fraud Investigation Office under CCTV surveillance to prevent custodial torture.
The court asked the Centre and states as well as UTs to compulsorily install CCTV cameras with night vision facility at all police stations with provision for storing recorded data for at least 12 months, and ideally for 18 months.
Asking state governments to allocate adequate funds for installation of CCTVs and fastening the responsibility of keeping them in working condition on station house officers, a bench of Justices R F Nariman, K M Joseph and Aniruddha Bose said: “In order 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, the main gate of the police station, all lock-ups, all corridors, lobby/reception area, all verandas/outhouses, inspector’s room, sub-inspector’s room, 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”.
Signalling its serious intent, the court laid down in detail the specifics for execution of its order. “CCTV systems 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 states/UTs to provide the same as expeditiously as possible using any mode of providing electricity, including solar/wind power. The internet systems that are provided must also be systems which provide clear image resolutions and audio. Most important of all is the storage of CCTV camera footage which can be done in digital video recorders and/or network video recorders,” it said.
Importantly, the SC ordered setting up of human rights courts in each district under the Protection of Human Rights Act and said custodial torture complaints can be made to these courts in addition to the state human rights commission.
The SC asked the Union government to file an affidavit on the constitution and working of the central oversight body. “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,” it said.

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