According to this latest news, Supreme court has made video capturing via CCTV mandatory in all police stations.
Update Jul 27, 2015: This news has appeared only in few newspapers so far. According to this news reported by Economic Times, the SC has made CCTV to be mandatory in prisons, and in police lock-ups. Police lock-up does not necessarily imply all rooms of the police station are to be monitored under CCTV, but definitely CCTV should cover the lock-up rooms where arrested people are detained. Even that should be a good start, and within few months, people can start filing RTI on local PS to ask if they already have CCTV monitoring done or not, how many lock-up rooms, how many CCTV, by when it will be done etc.
Also, there is good information given in this Delhi HC document about judicial and police lock-ups(PDF file).
NEW DELHI: In a landmark verdict to prevent custodial torture, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre and state governments to put police stations and interrogation rooms under surveillance of CCTV cameras.
A bench of Justices T S Thakur and R Banumathi also directed that the governments must appoint at least two women police constables in every police station.
This could be a game changer in terms of what the future relationship of citizens of India with the police services will be. Right now, it can be said that the citizens are fearful and helpless, and the police is like their mai-baap (godfather) who have no accountability to citizens. Whether a person faces a simple issue of a noisy party at late night in neighbourhood, or of a more serious crime like theft etc; it’s the citizens who are fearful of approaching the police, rather than exercising their right to get some basic law and order and governance. Many people have not called the police control room (PCR) number 100 in their whole life, and possibly would never will; unless police becomes accountable to people, towards which this judgment could prove to be a major step.
How does this help the husbands who complain of bad treatment, harassment, shouting, abusive behaviour by wife and in-laws in police stations? Or those who are dragged into police station on false charge of rape?
It all depends on the future behaviour of affected public. If public continues to treat police either as a mai-baap, or as an entity which works or shows favours by giving bribes, then all such progress of putting CCTV cameras etc will be of not much effect. This is unfortunately a learned behaviour in India that people try to take shortcuts instead of following the straight path, and then they complain that they didn’t get treated properly or got harassed. If you want to buy some favours from police by throwing money, why should you get respect? Who can say whether a person is honest or hasn’t actually done a crime if he is so eager to bribe police without even asking?
Further the news says:
The apex court also accepted their recommendation for regular and random inspection of police stations to ascertain whether any custodial violence took taking place after talking to inmates and examining CCTV footage.
The court has been monitoring the case pertaining to custodial violence since 1986 on a Public Interest Litigation filed by a former judge of Calcutta High Court Justice D K Basu and it has passed a slew of directions from time to time. It had laid down some specific requirements to be followed by police for arrest, detention and interrogation of any person to obviate the possibility of torture in custody.
The order by supreme court is with intention of preventing custodial torture, but the measure can have far reaching effects, beyond prevention of custodial torture. Generally, the standards of behaviour expected from public servants are quite low in India. We can remember the time when there was no CCTV in Lok and Rajya Sabhas, and the parliamentarians were used to throwing chappals and mikes at each other to score in parliamentary ‘debates’. With introduction of CCTV in police stations, there will possibly be lot of improvement in police’s behaviour, and it is up to citizens to ensure that they stick to what their real job is supposed to be.
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