In a recent development, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre on Wednesday to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment at the offices of investigating agencies, including the CBI, the ED and National Investigation Agency (NIA), which conduct interrogations and have the power of arrest.
A three-judge bench led by Justice RF Nariman observed that these directives shall be implemented both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible. The apex court, which had earlier ordered to install CCTV cameras in police stations to check human rights abuses, said that most of the probe agencies including Narcotics Control Bureau, Department of Revenue Intelligence and Serious Fraud Investigation Office conduct interrogation in their offices. In such a situation, CCTVs should be compulsorily installed in all offices where such questioning takes place and accused are kept.
It stated the CCTV systems must be equipped with night vision and have audio as well as video footage and it asked the Centre, states and UTs to purchase such system which allows storage of data for maximum period possible, and in any case not below one year.
“In addition, the Union of India is also directed to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of: Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Department of Revenue Intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), any other agency which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest,” said the bench, also comprising Justices K M Joseph and Aniruddha Bose.
“As most of these agencies carry out interrogation in their office(s), CCTVs shall be compulsorily installed in all offices where such interrogation and holding of accused takes place in the same manner as it would in a police station,” the bench said in its order.