The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked authorities here to complete the process of installation of CCTVs in police stations to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court’s order.
The court’s direction came on a petition for installation of functional CCTV cameras in all the police stations in the city.
The Delhi Police, in a status report, submitted that fresh bids for equipment were invited through the GeM portal last year and at present, the tender is at the stage of evaluation and ”it is working on commencing the tender process expeditiously”.
In January, the police had told the court that 1,941 CCTV cameras have been installed and are operational in 197 police stations here and a fresh e-bid had been invited for installing 2,175 additional cameras having audio-video recording facility.
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”In view of the above status report, let bids be evaluated and order be placed on the successful bidder to ensure compliance of the Supreme Court order,” said Justice Prathiba M Singh.
In view of the pendency of the issue before the top court, the court closed the proceedings in the present matter, saying no further orders were required in this petition and the petitioner will be at liberty to avail the remedies available to him in law.
In an earlier status report, the police had said that after the top court’s December 2020 judgment directing installation of CCTV cameras with storage period of 18 months, the Commissioner of Police has constituted a committee of senior police officers to examine the matter as expeditiously as possible. Recently, on February 21, the top court had directed the Centre and state governments to comply within a month with its directions on mandatory installation of CCTV cameras in police stations and offices of investigation agencies while clarifying that in case of non-compliance, it would be compelled to take necessary steps against the officials concerned. Before the high court, besides functional CCTVs, petitioner Chandril Dabas had also sought directions to ensure that the footage is stored at least for a minimum period of one year or eighteen months.
The petitioner, represented by lawyer Manan Aggarwal, said in his petition that in June 2021, he was harassed and threatened by certain police officials after he was found without an e-pass issued for movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He claimed in the plea that he explained to the police that he was going to his workplace to get the documents for issuance of an e-pass but he was taken to the concerned police station and made to sign some papers.
It was the petitioner’s grievance that when he approached the trial court for initiation of action against the erring officials and sought preservation of CCTV footage, the police claimed that the CCTV footage in question could not be preserved as the backup was only for eighteen days and the camera covering the open area of the police station was also not functional.
The petition thus argued that such a situation is in violation of a Supreme Court decision which directed that CCTV footage in all police stations must be stored for a period of at least 18 months.