A two-judge bench comprising Justices S J Kathawalla and M N Jadhav said in the past whenever the court asked for CCTV footage in any case, the police refused with one excuse or the other. “This is all done intentionally,” said Justice Kathawalla.
“Nothing substantial has been done in Maharashtra in the past two years. Has anyone even bothered to read the Supreme Court order? State government have to comply with the SC order,” the high court added in its order.
The HC also said that as per the apex court order, the CCTVs have to be placed at all the entry and exit points, inside lock-ups, in the rooms of the inspector, sub-inspectors and other places. The whole purpose of the Supreme Court order was to ensure transparency and hence, only “paper compliance” would not suffice.
Moreover, the HC has asked the Maharashtra government to set up a committee to look into this as no one would be bothered.
The HC said that the Supreme Court had in December 2020 passed an order directing all states to install CCTVs in police stations.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the state government, told the court that work is being carried out by two contractors to install CCTVs in police stations and to repair the ones which are currently non-functional.
Kumbhakoni said the contractors have been asked to repair all the non-functional CCTVs in 15 days.
Responding to this, the court sought to know from the government as to why the tender to install CCTVs in the police stations was awarded only to two contractors.
There are 1,089 police stations in the state. However, 6,092 CCTVs have been installed in 547 police stations. Out of these cameras, 5,639 are functional, while the remaining are non-functional, government mentioned in an affidavit submitted in the court today.
The HC posted the matter for further hearing on March 2 and asked the government to submit to it documents related to the tender awarded and also the work experience of the two contractors.