Why Do Police Stations in Maharashtra Still Not Have CCTVs with Audio Recording, despite SC Order?
Moneylife Digital Team 25 June 2024
Despite an order from the Supreme Court, many police stations in Maharashtra still lack closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras with audio recording capabilities, show responses received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by advocate Krishna Gupta. The public information officer (PIO) for Maharashtra police informed that at present, 1,089 police stations in the state have CCTVs installed with a facility to preserve the recording for 365 days; however, the audio recording facility is not available. 
 
 
The PIO further says, "The process of upgradation of existing police station CCTV surveillance system as per the orders of SC and installation of CCTV system in newly formed police stations is in progress, and it will be completed in the next phase of the project."
 
According to advocate Gupta, fully implementing these upgrades is critical for the transparency and integrity of police operations. "Despite multiple reminder letters sent to the director general of police (DGP) of Maharashtra from December 2022 to February 2024, compliance with the Supreme Court's directive remains partial in the state."
 
In his complaint to the state DGP, he says, "Despite the Supreme Court directions, the government of Maharashtra has failed to install the audio recording facility enabled CCTV cameras in the police stations within the state. The dereliction of the government of Maharashtra and/or DGP, Maharashtra, to thoroughly comply with the Supreme Court directions is serious and saddening."
 
In December 2020, the apex court, while hearing a special leave petition (SLP), gave detailed directions to states and Union Territories (UTs) and the Union government for installing CCTV cameras in all police stations and offices of central investigation agencies. 
 
The SC order directed states and UTs to install cameras with night-vision facilities at all police stations with provision for storing data for at least 12 months to enable speedy probes into complaints of custodial torture and human rights violations.
 
In July 2021, Nityanand Rai, the then Union minister of state for home affairs, told the Lok Sabha that the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued guidelines to all states and UTs for installing CCTV cameras in all police stations.  
 
However, following an order from the Bombay High Court (HC), the Maharashtra government passed a resolution on 22 August 2018 for initiating the installation of CCTVs across all police stations in the state. 
 
This project, already in progress before the Supreme Court's order in December 2020, led to the installation of video recording systems with a storage capacity of 365 days in many police stations. However, these systems lack the crucial audio recording component, necessitating upgrades to comply with the Supreme Court's directive, advocate Gupta says.
 
In addition, he says many areas in a police station, including cabins of police sub-inspectors (PSIs), assistant police inspectors (APIs), assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) and crime branches, are not yet covered by CCTV. "After a lapse of nearly three and a half years of the SC order, it is shocking and utter deliberate contempt of apex court order not to have CCTVs with audio facility installed in all police stations in Maharashtra," he says. 
Comments
iaminprabhu
3 weeks ago
Unless DGP & Home Minist(er)ry of every State is not jointly made accountable for priority actions on ground, this story of Non-compliance will continue fif years to come!
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