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CCTV installation in every police station will bring much-needed reforms says, Deepak Talwar



Deepak Talwar

The Supreme Court’s direction to install closed-circuit televisions in every police station will help improve police reforms in a nation with an increasing crime rate, a veteran market analyst has said

Seasoned market analyst and economy tracker Deepak Talwar has said that the direction of the apex court to all state governments and union territories is an eye-opener. The crime rate — showing a 1.6% annual increase in the registration of cases (50,74,635 cases) — per 100,000 population has increased from 383.5 in 2018 to 385.5 in 2019.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice RF Nariman has also directed the central government to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in offices of central agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency, the Narcotics Control Bureau, and the Enforcement Directorate.

All the cameras installed should be equipped with night vision and must necessarily consist of audio as well as video footage, the court has said. The video and audio recordings have to be retained for 18 months for evidence if needed. “This is important because it will help the cops and investigating officers of the agencies to keep a record of developments in the lockups,” says, Deepak Talwar.

The court has said that the best equipment available as of date has been purchased. As per Bar and Bench, the court said no part of a police station should be 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, and outside washrooms.

Talwar, says, “This will bring much more clarity in investigations, and also interrogations.” Now, any central agency that carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest “in the same manner as it would in a police station” must have these recording facilities as well, the court noted.

Talwar said that it will help improve the country’s human rights records. “Now, the Human Rights Commission and courts of the country can ask for CCTV footage from stations while dealing with complaints against the police relating to custodial torture and deaths. The judgment is indeed a landmark,” he adds.

In September 2020, the apex court stated that it had asked the states and UTs in the matter to find out the exact position of CCTV cameras in each police station in accordance with the April 3, 2018 order. Deepak Talwar said that the Supreme Court while dealing with custodial torture, had in July this year taken note of a 2017 case in which it had ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in all the police stations to check human rights abuses, videography of crime scene and setting up of a Central Oversight Committee and such a panel in every state and Union Territory.

Recently, a report by an NGO named National Campaign Against Torture revealed a disturbing scenario of torture and custodial deaths in India. The report claims that 1,731 people died in custody in 2019. Moreover, the report also mentioned horrifying methods that are being used widely by the enforcement agencies to torture. Taking into account the gruesome neglect of justice by authorities, the recent order by the apex court to install CCTVs in every police station and offices of other enforcement agencies will enable much-needed reform in the policing system in India.