A Three Judge bench of SC of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Aniruddha Bose on Thursday morning directed the premier investigating agencies to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigating Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Serious Fraud Investigating Office (SFIO) & any other agency which carries out interrogation and has power of arrest.
SC said that- “most important of all is the storage of CCTV camera footage which can be done in digital video recorders and/or network recorders. CCTVs must then be installed with such recording systems so that the data that is stored thereon shall be preserved for a period of 18 months.”
According to the Apex court most of the agencies which carryout interrogation they do it in their office, so installation of CCTV to such offices is compulsory.The court has directed to preserve the footage for a minimum period of at least 6 months and the victim will have the right to have the footage secured in case of any violation of his human rights. The SC gave such orders while hearing a plea filed by Paramvir Singh Saini who raised the issue of audio video recording of statements and about installation of CCTVs.
The court has directed for constituting Oversight Committees at state level and district level both and has directed Finance Departments of all states and UTs to grant fund for doing it. The added that the duty and responsibility to check working and maintenance of the CCTV lies with the SHO of the concerned PS and it will be his responsibility to report the concerned Oversight Committee be it of state or District in case of any default or malfunctioning.
The apex court also said that- “since these directions are in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and since nothing substantial has been done in this regard for a period of over 21/2 years since our first Order dates 03.04.2018, the Executive/Administrative/Police authorities are to implement this order both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible.
The SC has passed direction for filing compliance affidavits by all states and UTs and these affidavits are to be filed within the time period of 6 weeks from the date of order.