In a significant move towards enhancing transparency and safeguarding the rights of the accused and undertrials, the Supreme Court of India has issued a deadline of three months, until July 18, for the Central Government to implement the directions laid out in its December 2020 judgment. The court had ordered the installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the offices of various investigative agencies across the country. Expressing disappointment, a Bench led by Justice B.R. Gavai highlighted the lack of progress made by several agencies in complying with the court’s earlier directive.
The installation of CCTV cameras in the offices of investigative agencies aims to address concerns regarding the violation of human rights and to ensure transparency in the functioning of these agencies. By monitoring the activities within their premises, the cameras will help deter any potential misconduct or abuse of power, as well as provide valuable evidence in case of any violations.
The December 2020 judgment by the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of protecting the rights of the accused and undertrials. It recognized the need to strike a balance between law enforcement requirements and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The directive to install CCTV cameras was viewed as a proactive step towards achieving this balance, with the potential to prevent custodial torture, illegal detentions, and other human rights violations.
However, the recent observation made by Justice B.R. Gavai’s Bench underscores the disappointing lack of progress in implementing the court’s order. The non-compliance of several investigative agencies with the directive is disheartening, as it delays the realization of transparency and the protection of human rights within these institutions. The court’s decision to set a deadline is a clear indication of its intent to ensure expeditious action.
The installation of CCTV cameras in the offices of investigative agencies will bring about several benefits. It will act as a check on the behavior of officials, reducing the likelihood of misuse of power or violations of the rights of the accused and undertrials. The presence of cameras will also serve as a deterrent against any form of harassment, custodial abuse, or coercion during investigations. Moreover, the captured footage can serve as vital evidence during court proceedings, aiding in the administration of justice.
It is imperative for the Central Government to take immediate action to comply with the Supreme Court’s directive. This requires coordination between various agencies, allocation of resources, and a systematic approach to ensure the installation of CCTV cameras in a timely manner. The government must prioritize this task and allocate the necessary funds and resources to expedite the process. Additionally, a mechanism should be put in place to monitor and ensure the effective functioning of the installed cameras.The implementation of the Supreme Court’s directive will not only enhance transparency within investigative agencies but also strengthen public confidence in the justice system. It will reaffirm the commitment of the judiciary to protect the rights of the accused and undertrials and will serve as a crucial step towards upholding the principles of justice and fairness.
The Supreme Court’s decision to set a deadline for the installation of CCTV cameras in the offices of investigative agencies underscores the importance of transparency and the protection of human rights. The lack of progress in complying with the court’s earlier directive is disheartening, and urgent action is required to fulfill this obligation. The installation of CCTV cameras will serve as a deterrent against misconduct, protect the rights of the accused and undertrials, and contribute to a more accountable and just system of law enforcement.