CCTVs In Police Stations Should Have Audio As Well: Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court has said that CCTVs installed in police stations should have audio as well as video footage and asked a local police station to explain why an audio system was not installed there as directed by the Supreme Court.
Justice Anu Malhotra, while dealing with a plea concerning an alleged hindrance being caused to the petitioner in performing his official and religious duties as an imam of a masjid, noted that the Supreme Court has expressly directed that CCTVs are to be installed in police stations, lock-ups, corridors, reception areas, inspector’s rooms, station hall, etc. and that in the present case, while the video footage of Nabi Karim Police Station was preserved, the audio footage was not available.

The petitioner, in his plea, alleged that the “self-styled caretaker” who was “illegally” managing the masjid had threatened him with dire consequences and subjected him to inhuman and degrading treatment in the presence of the SHO in the police station.

He added that the entire incident was captured in the CCTV cameras installed inside the SHO’s room but no consequent legal action was taken and sought preservation of the CCTV footage, both audio and video.

“It is essential to observe that in view of the verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in ‘Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baljit Singh & Others’…has expressly directed that the CCTVs have essentially to be installed in the police stations, lock-ups, corridors, lobbies, reception areas, verandas/outhouses…and that the said CCTV systems have to be equipped with night vision and must necessarily consist of audio as well as video footage,” the court said in its order dated May 27.

“In the circumstances, the respondent Nos.1 and 2 shall explain as to why the audio footage has not been installed so far and the compliance of the installation of the audio footage in terms of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Paramvir Singh Saini (Supra) be placed on record without default by the State for the next date of hearing,” the court directed.

Lawyer M Sufiyan Siddiqui, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that there was a deliberate and willful non-compliance by the police of an earlier court order asking them to provide adequate police protection to the petitioner in the discharge of his official and religious duties as an imam of the masjid.

However in the present case, the lawyer said, there was an attempt to undermine the majesty of the court, which is tantamount to interference with the administration of justice and substantially impinges and diminishes the primacy of the rule of law.

The state stated that the petitioner’s version was exaggerated and there was only an exchange of hot words between the petitioner and the other party and rather the SHO had called both of them to the police station for maintenance of peace and harmony between the parties on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Fitr.

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