Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued directions that CCTV cameras should be installed in every portion of the police stations including interrogation rooms as per the mandate under Supreme Court judgment in Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh and others.
Justice Amol Singh stated that the directives issued by Supreme Court are clear in that no portion of a police station should be left uncovered by CCTV and the interrogation room would also be naturally covered within the ambit of the top court’s order.
“Hence, with the directions issued by the Supreme Court also being to the extent that cameras 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, out houses, 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 obvious implication is that no part of the police stations would be left uncovered by CCTV surveillance. Naturally therefore, any interrogation room would also be covered by such directions,” the bench noted.
Justice Amol added that India cannot hide behind the excuse that many other countries are far more advanced than us and therefore there can be no comparison with the methods adopted there, in interrogating accused persons here.
The High Court bench went on to add, “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.”
The bench was hearing a petition filed by gangster Kaushal Chaudhary. He alleged that human rights violations were committed against him the jail.
He had sought directions from the court to allow videography of his interrogations, medical examination during investigations and appropriate security when he is taken out of jail.
The petitioner had also made allegations that the prisoners are subjected to inhumane treatment in prison and during remand.
The single-judge bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Director-General of Police of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh to file affidavits in connection to whether the Supreme Court directions are being followed properly or not.
DGP Haryana argued that there is no such provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Turning down the contention, the High Court bench stated that the law declared by the Supreme Court would be binding as per Article 141 of the Indian Constitution.
“Consequently and obviously, non-compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Paramvir Singh Sainis’ case, would amount to contempt of Court and this court would, naturally, also be bound to ensure that the directions issued by the Supreme Court are actually carried out at ground level by the States and Union Territory falling within the jurisdiction of this court,” the court said.
The court also took note of the hard work of the police and appreciated their work. The bench stated that we acknowledge that police face an uphill battle while dealing with hardened criminals and their work must be highly appreciated, but under the constitutional scheme and statutory provisions, even the worst criminal cannot be denied the fair procedure.
The bench has listed the matter for February 9.