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Police Interrogation Rooms In Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh To Be Under CCTV

New Delhi: All police stations in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh have been directed by the High Court to install CCTV cameras in their interrogation rooms to curb incidents of human rights violations. The order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court came on Friday on a petition filed by gangster Kaushal Chaudhary.

During the previous hearing, the High Court had asked the Director Generals of Police (DGP) of the two states and the UT, whether the Supreme Court’s directions with regard to CCTV coverage at police stations and jails have been complied with. 

Haryana submitted a report stating that there is no such provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) while the Punjab DGP’s response was “conspicuously silent”. Both the police forces stated that entry and exit points in police stations are under CCTV coverage. 

However, the court referred to the Supreme Court (SC) order in the Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baljit Singh case and observed that any order of the apex court is enforceable throughout the country and is binding on all courts.

In the Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baljit Singh case, Supreme Court had issued directions that cameras need to be installed at not just entry and exit points and main gates of police stations, but also in all lock-ups, corridors, lobby and reception areas, verandas, outhouses, rooms of officials, outside the lock-up rooms, station hall and in front of the police station compound, as also outside washrooms and toilets. The apex court’s order made it clear that no part of the police stations would be left uncovered by CCTV surveillance.

Here are 3 things that Punjab and Haryana High Court said in its order:

  1. On January 14, the High Court ordered that no parts of the police station should be left uncovered by CCTV surveillance. The CCTV must cover all interrogation centers of police stations in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh. 
  2. The court also added that there cannot be any excuse for not doing it. The videography of interrogation is aimed to curb human rights violations being committed against criminals in jail. The bench of justice Amol Rattan Singh issued directions on Friday, stating, “It is not an excuse for us, in India, to take a plea that many other countries are far more advanced than us and, therefore, there can be no comparison with the methods adopted there, in interrogating the accused here. We are the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world and therefore any such plea taken would only seem to be taken as an excuse to not actually adopt contemporary methods of investigation, including interrogation, rather than taking shortcuts by using third degrees methods, etc.”
  3. The court also ordered that the medical records of every accused and other provisions in the CrPC, with regard to rights of an arrested and the one to be taken into custody, are met and same be made part of challans to be presented in a particular case. If the same is not complied with, it would be considered as contempt of the Hon’ble court’s order.
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