The Supreme Court in one of the recent judgments has held that in case a victim during an interrogation by any of the agencies like Police, CBI, NIA, ED etc., has a right to obtain the CCTV footage if there is any human right violation faced by the victim. The victim can approach the National/State Human Rights Commission, Superintendent of Police or Human Rights Courts. Further every interrogation room should have CCTV’s installed. The Supreme Court in order to protect the human rights have laid down serious measures in the case of Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh & Ors., SLP (Criminal) No. 3543 of 2020.
The Supreme Court issued the directives while disposing the Special Leve Petition filed by Paramvir Singh, in which the issue of audio-video recordings and installation of CCTV’s in places of interrogation and other relevant places was raised. The Court while giving directives referred to the case of Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 5 SCC 311, where the court had issued similar set of directives but it has been more than 2 years and there have been no steps taken to implement the directives. The court further stated that the right to report violation of human right is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and hence the provision of recordings and CCTV has to be available on an urgent basis.
The Court further asked the Central Government to file an affidavit on the Constitution and working of the Central Oversight Body. It also instructed the Central Government to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment’s in all interrogation offices of the agencies. Lastly dismissing the petition the court was of the opinion that “The SLOC and the COB shall give directions to all Police Stations, investigative/enforcement agencies to prominently display at the entrance and inside the police stations/offices of investigative/enforcement agencies about the coverage of the concerned premises by CCTV. This shall be done by large posters in English, Hindi and vernacular language. In addition to the above, it shall be clearly mentioned therein that na person has a right to complain about human rights violations to the National/State Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Court or the Superintendent of Police or any other authority empowered to take cognizance of an offence. It shall further mention that CCTV footage is reserved for a certain minimum time period, which shall not be less than six months, and the victim has a right to have the same secured in the event of violation of human rights.”