Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Kerala High Court: In a case filed concerning recurring violence against Doctors and Healthcare Professionals, a Division Bench of Devan Ramchandran and Edappagath JJ., directed that every Station House Officer concerned, to whom, or to whose Station, a complaint of atrocity or attack or harm on any Healthcare Professional be that doctors, nurses, staffs, security or such other, or against the property of a Hospital shall be recorded as a first information and a case registered within a period of one hour from the time on which such information is obtained or gathered.

The Court noted that unless a sense of fear of the law is instilled into the citizens, nothing can really change and experience has shown that citizens are not fearful of the law, but of apprehension in case of misconduct or infraction.

The Court expresses concern that the official system would function faultlessly and that the citizens would also be aware of the imperative requirement to treat the healthcare system with the respect it deserves.

The Court remarked that the fact that the Government Hospital System is overwhelmed and that the number of patients is escalating by the day is common knowledge and unless the doctors and healthcare professionals can act in peace and calm, it would become impossible for the system to sustain itself.

Thus, the Court directed that every incident of attack on a doctor or a Healthcare Professional, including any other staff of the Hospital – be Security or other – will have to be taken cognizance of by the Station House Officer of the Police Station concerned not later than one hour from the time on which it is reported to him. This can be under the Special Law applicable, or under the Penal Code, 1860; but an FIR will need to be registered within the afore time frame, which alone will ensure that the perpetrator/s understands that action is swift and quick.

The Court further directed that swift action thereafter should be initiated, including to apprehend the Offenders, as and when it requires so, leading to prosecution and such other, as the law warrants.

The Court further requested the Government of Kerala to ensure that the citizens are told, by appropriate methods, the gravity of the offence of an attack on a hospital or a Healthcare Personnel; and the way this Court proposes to deal with it in the future.

[Kerala Private Hospitals Association v. Sabu P Joseph, R.P. No. 379 of 2021, decided on 01-12-2022]


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Bombay High Court: In the present case wherein, an FIR was registered by the complainant that during certain proceedings being undertaken in the Police Station, the applicant secretly video recorded the proceedings on his mobile, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 3 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, a Division Bench of Manish Pitale and Valmiki SA Menezes, JJ., held that none of the ingredients of the alleged offence are made out against the applicant.

Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act provides penalties for spying and states that a person will face penalty for spying if he commits an act as specified in sub-section (1) thereof.

The Court noted that the definition of ‘prohibited place’ as defined in section 2(8) of the Official Secrets is exhaustive in nature, which does not specifically include Police Station as one of the places or establishments, which could be included in the definition ‘prohibited place’.

Thus, the Court held that secretly video recording the proceedings inside the police station is not an offence under section 3 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

[Ravindra Shitalrao Upadyay v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2015, decided on 26-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr.D.R.Bhoyar, counsel for the Applicant;

Mr.S.M.Ghodeswar, APP for the Respondent.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Patna High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: In a writ petition concerning the transgender community, the division bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ. and S. Kumar, J. has observed that certain measures have been taken in watching and protecting the interest of the transgender community, who are in conflict with the law, and a separate cell in the jails is earmarked for lodging the inmates hailing from such a community. Further, directed certain instructions to the State.

The writ petition was filed for commanding the respondent authorities to create separate wards and cells for the transgender persons arrested under various offences and languishing in all the Central Prisons, District Prisons and Sub-Jails situated in the state of Bihar, and for commanding the authorities to create separate lockups for the transgender persons in all the Police Stations of Bihar. Also, for segregating transgender inmates separately from male inmates or from female inmates by either confining them in separate cells, isolation wards or hospitals and lock ups in judicial as well as in police custody, to ensure that convicted and under-trial transgender prisoners can be protected from the inflict mental and sexual harassment

The Court observed that certain measures have been taken which surely, have come a long way, in watching/protecting the interest of members of the transgender community, who are in conflict with the law. Further, a separate cell in the jails is earmarked for lodging the inmates hailing from such a community. Also, the instructions issued vide communication dated 10.01.2022, by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bihar have been followed to a large extent.

Thus, the Court viewed that the present petition can be closed with liberty to the petitioner to highlight the surviving grievances through a written communication to respondent. Further, the Additional Advocate General stated that, when any such communication is received, the opportunity of hearing would be afforded to the petitioner, whose locus and bona fides are not in doubt. Also, the feasible suggestions made by the petitioner would be considered and implemented. Further, it was directed that the respondent shall deal with the petitioner’s contentions by way of written communications by assigning cogent reason and that the needful be done within a period of three months from the date of receipt of such request.

Moreover, the State shall ensure that the guidelines issued by the Government of India and adopted by the State of Bihar in relation to housing the members of the transgender community in jails shall be implemented in letter and spirit.

[LAW Foundation v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine Pat 2371, decided on 14.09.2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: Advocate Vishal Kumar Singh

For the Respondent: Additional Advocate General Prabhat Kr. Verma

Advocate Suman Kumar Jha

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Amol Rattan Singh, J., held that police stations including the interrogation room should be covered by CCTV surveillance.

Petitioner sought a direction to respondents 1 to 3 stating that whenever he be taken for interrogation, videography be done of his leaving the jail premises till his reaching the police station concerned and during interrogation, a videography be also done.

Further, it was prayed that during the interrogation his medical examination be also conducted through a board of doctors or through a civil hospital, so that if any torture ‘is done to him’, then it can be revealed through the said medical examination.

Adding to the above, the petitioner also prayed that when he is to be taken outside the jail on remand, then either his family members or his lawyer be informed of the location, with his lawyer to be permitted to be present there, where he is being taken and appropriate security be also provided so that he may not be killed in a fake encounter.

Lastly, it was prayed that respondents 1 to 3 be directed to comply with the provisions of Section 31 of the Prisons Act, 1984.

On 3-12-2021, this Court had directed the DGPs of Punjab and Haryana to file affidavits in response to observations made in that order, in reply to which the affidavits were filed.

Analysis and Discussion

With the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, (2021) 1 SCC 184 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.

In view of the above, Court stated that in view of the above any interrogation room would also be covered by such directions.

DGP, Haryana and DGP, Punjab have been directed to file affidavits as to whether the directions laid down in the Supreme Court decision have been complied with or not.

The non-compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, (2021) 1 SCC 184, 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.

High Court directed that in the case of every person who is in police custody or is being taken into police custody, all provisions of the CrPC, including Sections 41-B, 41-C, 41-D and 54, 55 and 55-A would be meticulously followed, with compliance reports in that regard to be made a part of the report under Section 173 of the CrPC, as regards even medical examination necessarily to be conducted in terms of Section 55-A thereof.

Bench reiterated that,

“police faces a very uphill task in dealing with criminals, especially hardened criminals and the work done by the police force and any investigating agency is to be highly appreciated, in trying to apprehending criminals and actually apprehending them and bringing them to justice; yet, as per the constitutional scheme and the statutory provisions framed thereunder in India, not even the worst criminal can be denied a fair procedure in terms of the statutory provisions laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and any such law in force.”

Therefore, violation of the procedure laid down above especially leading to violation of human rights even in the case of worst criminal, cannot be ignored by any Court.

Lastly, the Court noted that it would be an excuse for India to take a plea that many other countries are far more advanced than India and therefore there can be no comparison with the methods adopted there, in interrogating accused persons here.

Bench highlighted that,

 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 etc.

High Court adjourned the matter to 9-2-2022. [Kaushal v. State of Haryana, CRM-M-43672 of 2021, decided on 7-1-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

Bipan Ghai, Sr. Advocate, with

Paras Talwar, Advocate, for the petitioner. Rajeev Anand, APP, for respondent 3.

Manreet Singh Nagra, AAG, Punjab.

Neeraj Poswal, AAG, Haryana.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., expressed that,

“…it is unfortunate that institutions that are supposed to protect the life and liberty of common citizens are quick to shirk their responsibilities.”

Background

Petitioner filed an FIR disclosing an allegation of sexual assault against her that has taken place from 2008 to 2019 at various places.

In view of the above, the petitioner registered a complaint regarding the crime of fraud, forgery and conspiracy towards forging marriage certificates, committing rape, getting an abortion done by the accused who forced the petitioner to ingest poisonous products and attempted murder.

When the petitioner used to live with her parents, one of the accused forcefully initiated a physical relationship with her, initially on account of their familiar relationship, the petitioner did not take any legal action against him. However, despite knowing that the petitioner was his sister, the accused tortured her physically, mentally and ruined her entire career.

Accused even raped the petitioner when the mother of the accused went to live at the petitioner’s Kanpur residence.

It is stated that when the Petitioner insisted on registering a police complaint against the accused and his family, then accused, and brother of accused, with the help of their sister, poured kerosene on the Petitioner and set her on fire. However, on realizing that the said act could lead to the petitioner’s death, they put off the fire.

Further, it was stated accused persons threatened the Petitioner and told her that she would have to remain as mistress/wife of the accused forever and would have to satisfy his lust.

In view of the above circumstances, the petitioner was unable to register a complaint. Later in the year 2011, when petitioner started living alone, accused started telling people that she was his wife. Further, he consistently raped the petitioner and threatened her with a revolver and a knife. On petitioner becoming pregnant, she was forcible made to ingest abortion pills and her foetus was aborted.

Accused took the petitioner to Arya Samaj Mandir and forged documents to showcase that he and the petitioner were married.

He used to keep the petitioner as a hostage at their rented house to satisfy his lust. In the year 2013, the petitioner again got pregnant, and Ajay forcefully made the petitioner abort the child by giving her medicines.

In the year 2013, when the petitioner father came to know of the above-stated, he died of shock and during that time, Ajay with the help of his wife took the petitioner to Kanpur and raped her while his wife made a video of the same.

Petitioner believed that her life is in complete danger and which is why she approached the Police Station GTB Enclave for registration of an FIR under the appropriate provisions of the Penal Code, 1860 against the four accused.

Since the Police denied registering the complaint, she moved to the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate by way of an application under Section 156 (3) CrPC.

Metropolitan Magistrate directed the SHO to file an action report as a result of which petitioner was taken for a medical examination. After this, an FIR under Sections 354, 376, 506 IPC was registered.

The case was registered vide ‘Zero FIR’ and the investigation had been transferred to Police Station Indrapuram, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Despite the admission that one incidence had occurred within the jurisdiction of GTB Enclave, Respondents 2 and 3 transferred the case to Respondents 4 and 5. It was stated that subsequently, the Petitioner moved an application before the Metropolitan Magistrate concerned on 12-09-2019 referring to the applicability of Section 178(d) CrPC seeking action for intentional non-registration of FIR and also calling for an explanation for unlawful transfer of the investigation despite having jurisdiction over the matter.

Further, despite another application preferred by the petitioner seeking preservation of evidence and recording of the statement of the prosecutrix, Police Station GTB did not make any endeavour to collect the evidence, preserve it or take the statement of the petitioner, and rather chose to transfer the matter to respondents 2 and 5.

Metropolitan Magistrate vide Order dated 12-09-2019 called for the report from DCP Shahdara seeking an explanation for the transfer of the investigation despite admission that one incident had taken place within the jurisdiction of Police Station GTB Enclave. Further, t was submitted by DCP Shahdara that during the medical examination, the Petitioner had disclosed that the sexual intercourse had taken place in Indrapuram, Ghaziabad, U.P., and that an FIR had already been registered at Police Station Indrapuram on 12.09.2019 under Sections 354, 376, 506 IPC.

Petitioner approached this court since her grievance have remained unsolved and she has been subjected to a lot of threats from the accused.

Analysis, Law and Decision

What constitutes ‘Zero FIR’?

As per Section 154 CrPC, if any information relating to the commission of any cognizable offence is received by a Police Station, the police is duty-bound to register the FIR.

However, if the crime does not occur within the jurisdiction of the said police station, then the registration of the ‘Zero FIR’, same has to be transferred to the Police Station concerned where the offence has indeed been committed.

Hence, the place of crime and jurisdiction of the police station becomes irrelevant when a cognizable offence is disclosed, and the police station is obligated to instantly transfer the pertinent documents over to the police station vested with the jurisdiction which numbers the FIR and begins the investigation.

Difference between FIR and Zero FIR

The bench noted that the only difference between FIR and Zero FIR is that an FIR is registered where the incident had occurred within the jurisdiction of a particular Police Station, and a Zero FIR can be lodged at any Police Station irrespective of where the incident has taken place.

Motive of Zero FIR is to provide quick redressal to the victim so that timely action can be taken after registration of the FIR.

In the present matter, one of the incidents of forceful sexual assaults had taken place in the GTB Enclave area.

The Police Station GTB Enclave was obligated to register an FIR and not a “Zero FIR”, and not delve into whether the Petitioner resided in the city or what was the specific time, date and place of the alleged incident.

High Court remarked that,

By embarking on the journey of trying to get the investigation transferred to Ghaziabad, U.P., Police Station GTB Enclave has displayed a failure in dispensation of their obligation to take into account the seriousness and gravity of the offence that has been disclosed by the Petitioner in the complaint.

“…mere disclosure that one of the incidents had taken place within the vicinity of Police Station GTB Enclave was sufficient for an FIR to be registered at that Police Station, and not a Zero FIR as was done in the instance case.”

Under Section 482 CrPC, the High Court has inherent power to take the necessary action as sought for in the present petition and direct for the registration of the FIR at PS GTB Enclave.

High Court directed respondents to register a regular FIR instead of a zero FIR and conduct an investigation. [X v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 5158, decided on 30-11-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Mr R.N. Dubey, Mr Vinay Sharma, Advocates

For the Respondents: Ms Richa Kapoor, ASC for the State with Ms Shivani Sharma and Ms Surabhi Katyal, Advocates Inspector Arun Kumar, SHO/P.S. GTB Enclave.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., addresses a matter revolving around the possession of ammunition by a person which he/she is unconscious of.

Instant matter was filed with regard to the quashing of an FIR registered at the police station – I.G.I Airport for the offences punishable under Section 25 of Arms Act, 1959.

Petitioner submitted that while waiting for his flight from Delhi to Lucknow, his baggage was put for screening wherein one live cartridge of .32bore with S&WL (KF) live ammunition was detected. It was added that he was not in conscious possession of the live bullet detected, since the petitioner could not produce any valid license for the ammunition, FIR was registered.

Though, during the investigation petitioner produced a valid arms license issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh and the same was found to be genuine, therefore the FIR deserved to be quashed.

“It is well settled that where a person is not conscious of the ammunition in his possession, an offence of under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 would not be made out.”

The above-settled position was drawn in view of the following decisions:

  • Surender Kumar v. State (GNCT of Delhi), WP (Crl.) 2143 of 2019, decided on 27-09-2019
  • Aruna Chaudhary v. State, WP (Crl.) 1975 of 2019, decided on 25-09-2019
  • Paramdeep Singh Sran v. State (NCT of Delhi), WP (Crl.) 152 of 2019, decided on 29-08-2019.

In view of the above decisions, Section 25 of the Arms Act was converted into Section 30 of the Arms Act in light of the petitioner holding a valid Arms License.

In the present matter, the prosecution’s case was not that there was a firearm recovered from the petitioner or there was any threat to anyone at the airport, hence the possession of the ammunition was unconscious and there was no threat to anyone.

Therefore, FIR registered at Police Station – IGI Airport were quashed. [Narendra Kumar Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 2335, decided on 18-05-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Ajay P. Tushir, Adv. with Varun Malik, Adv.

For the Respondent: Kamna Vohra, ASC for the State

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Sadhana S. Jadhav and N.J. Jamadar, JJ., observed a matter wherein an adolescent girl who was employed as a maid to earn a livelihood was sexually harassed by the son of her owner.

Appellant was convicted for the offence punishable under Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 by the Lower Court.

Factual Matrix

X, a helpless adolescent girl was working as a maid servant to earn her livelihood. She had approached the police station to lodge an FIR.

She alleged that her father had got her employed as a maid with Jahangir owner of Hotel Sai-Village at Shirdi. Mr Jahangir’s wife and two children i.e. present accused 1 and his sister Farhad were original residents of Geeta Bhavan, Bombay. Jahangir’s wife, i.e. accused 2 had brought X to Bombay to work at their residence. After a few days, the sister of the victim was also employed with the mother of accused 2.

Victim alleged that she was molested and ravished by accused 1. Due to fear and apprehension she couldn’t disclose the whole truth to accused 2 and hence ended up stating that she was being teased by accused 1.

She also had conceived pregnancy from accused 1. All efforts to abort the foetus were taken by accused 2. Later she was admitted to Asha Sadan after which she was admitted to hospital and gave birth to a child. Accused 2 asked the victim to leave the child at Asha Sadan but the victim refused to do so.

Hence she was allowed to take the child along.

Victim’s child was snatched by the sister of accused 2 with the assurance that it would be returned in a few months.

Accused 2 kept harassing the victim and did not allow her to return to her native place. Thereafter, the victim somehow eloped from the place and returned to her native place and lodged the FIR.

Analysis and Decision

Bench while considering the facts and circumstances of the matter, stated that it is a settled law that the evidence of rape victim stands at par with the injured witness.

Court held that evidence of the victim of sexual offence deserves to be considered with great weightage. The facts and circumstances corroborate the evidence of the victim and leave no room for suspicion that the victim was ravished by none other than the accused 1.

A rape victim is left with a feeling of degradation, humiliation and guilt for the whole life.

Offence of rape is a heinous offence which cannot be viewed with any leniency. Once the Court finds the evidence of victim to be trustworthy, conviction would follow and said conviction should be followed by a sentence proportionate to the gravity of the offence. Social position of the accused is totally irrelevant.

Supreme Court has time and again said that the society cannot look upon a woman with derision, depravity, contempt and as an object of desire.

Demise of the Child

Court observed in the instant case that, the injury sustained by a rape victim is not just a physical injury, but an injury to her womanhood. She is forced to live with indignation throughout her life and in the present case, she had given birth to a child who lived with her for hardly 6 days and thereafter, the child was brutally snatched, abandoned and had died.

A scar on the Victim

Victim was not even informed of the demise of her child, but the said injury would definitely leave a scar on her further development as a person.

It is not just a physical injury, but injury to the soul of a victim. In the present case, Ms X had attained motherhood at a young age of 15 years.

Hence, in view of the above, appeal deserves to be dismissed.

Further, Criminal Appeal No. 919 of 2006 was filed by the State with regard to meager sentence imposed upon accused 1 despite his conviction for an offence punishable under Section 376 IPC.

The Court is duty-bound to assign special and adequate reason for imposing a sentence lesser than the minimum.

Heinous Offence

Bench stated that High Courts cannot be oblivious of the impact of such a heinous offence.

The object of deterrence in the commission of such heinous offence cannot be lost sight of while sentencing. Once the accused is convicted, the victim also deserves justice.

Dishonour of a woman needs to be eliminated and judicial pronouncement, which imposes a disproportionately lenient sentence, needs to be set aside.

Sessions Court had acquitted the accused 1 despite there being material evidence. Therefore, it was incumbent upon the State to file an appeal against acquittal, in view of the fact that the victim was subjected to harassment, she was brutally assaulted, she was forced to abandon her child, which in fact is an offence punishable under Section 317 IPC.

While parting with the decision, Court stated that the quantum of sentence of the accused convicted under Section 376 IPC cannot be viewed with leniency. Hence, the sentence imposed upon the respondent/accused 1 deserves to be enhanced and appeal for enhancement deserves to be allowed. [Faiyaz v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 3561, decided on 08-12-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman*, KM Joseph and Anirudhha Bose, JJ has directed all the States and UTs to install CCTV cameras in all Police Stations and file compliance affidavits within 6 weeks.

The Court said that the directions are in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and hence, the Executive/Administrative/police authorities are to implement this Order both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible.

In Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 2 SCC 801[1]the Court had directed that a Central Oversight Body be set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs to implement the plan of action with respect to the use of videography in the crime scene during the investigation.

Earlier, 14 States and 2 UTs had filed compliance affidavits but the Court noticed that the majority of the Compliance Affidavits and Action Taken Reports failed to disclose the exact position of CCTV cameras qua each Police Station. It hence, directed that the Compliance Affidavit is to be done by ALL the States and Union Territories, including those who have filed ‘so-called’ compliance affidavits.

The directions issued by the Court include:

  • Duties of the State Level Oversight Committee (SLOC):

a) Purchase, distribution and installation of CCTVs and its equipment;

b) Obtaining the budgetary allocation for the same;

c) Continuous monitoring of maintenance and upkeep of CCTVs and its equipment;

d) Carrying out inspections and addressing the grievances received 6 from the DLOC; and

e) To call for monthly reports from the DLOC and immediately address any concerns like faulty equipment.

  • Duties of the District Level Oversight Committee (DLOC):

a) Supervision, maintenance and upkeep of CCTVs and its equipment;

b) Continuous monitoring of maintenance and upkeep of CCTVs and its equipment;

c) To interact with the Station House Officer (SHO) as to the functioning and maintenance of CCTVs and its equipment; and

d) To send monthly reports to the SLOC about the functioning of CCTVs and allied equipment.

e) To review footage stored from CCTVs in the various Police Stations to check for any human rights violation that may have occurred but are not reported.

“It is obvious that none of this can be done without allocation of adequate funds for the same, which must be done by the States’/Union Territories’ Finance Departments at the very earliest.”

  • SHO’s responsibilities include CCTV data maintenance, backup of data, fault rectification etc.

“If the concerned SHO has reported malfunctioning or non-functioning of CCTVs of a particular Police Station, the DLOC shall immediately request the SLOC for repair and purchase of the equipment, which shall be done immediately.”

  • All Police Stations should have CCTV systems installed at all entry and exit points; main gate of the police station; all lock-ups; all corridors; lobby/the reception area; all verandas/outhouses, Inspector’s room; SubInspector’s room; areas outside the lock-up room; station hall; in front of the police station compound; outside (not inside) washrooms/toilets; Duty Officer’s room; back part of the police station etc.
  • CCTV systems that have to be installed must be equipped with night vision and must necessarily consist of audio as well as video footage. In areas in which there is either no electricity and/or internet, it shall be the duty of the States/Union Territories to provide the same as expeditiously as possible using any mode of providing electricity, including solar/wind power.
  • The internet systems that are provided must also be systems which provide clear image resolutions and audio. CCTV cameras must then be installed with such recording systems so that the data that is stored thereon shall be preserved for a period of 18 months.
  • If the recording equipment, available in the market today, does not have the capacity to keep the recording for 18 months but for a lesser period of time, it shall be mandatory for all States, Union Territories and the Central Government to purchase one which allows storage for the maximum period possible, and, in any case, not below 1 year.

Directions to Union of India

  • file an affidavit in which it will update this Court on the constitution and workings of the Central Oversight Body (COB), giving full particulars thereof.
  • install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of:

(i) Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

(ii) National Investigation Agency (NIA)

(iii) Enforcement Directorate (ED)

(iv) Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

(v) Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)

(vi) Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)

(vii) Any other agency which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest.

“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 COB shall perform the same function as the SLOC for the offices of investigative/enforcement agencies mentioned above both in Delhi and outside Delhi wherever they be located.

How will installation of CCTV Cameras curb custodial violence? 

  • The SLOC and the COB, where applicable, 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. It shall further mention that CCTV footage is preserved 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 his human rights.

“it shall be clearly mentioned therein that a 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.”

What is to be done if force used at Police Stations?

Whenever there is information of force being used at police stations resulting in serious injury and/or custodial deaths, it is necessary that persons be free to complain for a redressal of the same.

  • Such complaints may not only be made to the State Human Rights Commission, which is then to utilise its powers, more particularly under Sections 17 and 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for redressal of such complaints, but also to Human Rights Courts, which must then be set up in each District of every State/Union Territory under Section 30 of the aforesaid Act.
  • The Commission/Court can then immediately summon CCTV camera footage in relation to the incident for its safe keeping, which may then be made available to an investigation agency in order to further process the complaint made to it.

[Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 983,  decided on 02.12.2020]


*Justice RF Nariman had penned this judgment. Read more about him here.

Counsels heard:

Amicus Curiae Siddhartha Dave

Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal,

Addl. Solicitor General of India Madhvi Divan,

Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan for the intervenor

[1] In Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 2 SCC 801, it was directed
  • steps are taken to introduce videography in investigation, particularly for crime scene as desirable and acceptable best practice as suggested by the Committee of the MHA to strengthen the Rule of Law.
  • with a view to implement the Plan of Action prepared by the Committee, a Central Oversight Body (COB) be set up by the MHA forthwith. The COB may issue directions from time to time. Suggestions of the Committee in its report may also be kept in mind. The COB will be responsible for further planning and implementation of use of videography.
  • funding for this project may be initially by the Centre to the extent possible and a central server may be set up. These suggestions may be considered by the COB.
  • in every State an oversight mechanism be created whereby an independent committee can study the CCTV camera footages and periodically publish report of its observations. Let the COB issue appropriate instructions in this regard at the earliest. The COB may also compile information as to compliance of such instructions in the next three months and give a report to this Court.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Naveen Sinha and BR Gavai, JJ has issued notice to the Ministry of Home affairs on the question of audio-video recordings of Section 161 statements as is provided by Section 161 (3) proviso CrPC, as well as the larger question as to the installation of CCTV cameras in police stations generally.

Section 161 deals with Examination of witnesses by Police and it’s clause (3) proviso reads as:

“(3) The police officer may reduce into writing any statement made to him in the course of an examination under this section; and if he does so, he shall make a separate and true record of the statement of each such person whose statement he records:

[Provided that statement made under this sub-section may also be recorded by audio-video electronic means.]”

While issuing notice, the Court took note of it’s ruling in Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 2 SCC 801,wherein it was directed

  • steps are taken to introduce videography in investigation, particularly for crime scene as desirable and acceptable best practice as suggested by the Committee of the MHA to strengthen the Rule of Law.
  • with a view to implement the Plan of Action prepared by the Committee, a Central Oversight Body (COB) be set up by the MHA forthwith. The COB may issue directions from time to time. Suggestions of the Committee in its report may also be kept in mind. The COB will be responsible for further planning and implementation of use of videography.
  • funding for this project may be initially by the Centre to the extent possible and a central server may be set up. These suggestions may be considered by the COB.
  • in every State an oversight mechanism be created whereby an independent committee can study the CCTV camera footages and periodically publish report of its observations. Let the COB issue appropriate instructions in this regard at the earliest. The COB may also compile information as to compliance of such instructions in the next three months and give a report to this Court.

Compliance with above directions may be ensured by the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs in the Central Government as well as Home Secretaries of all the State Governments. An affidavit of progress achieved may be filed by the Oversight Body on or before 31-7-2018. Put up the matter for further consideration on 1-8-2018.”

It is pertinent to note that the Court had, in Shafhi Mohammad judgment, directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure the compliance of the aforementioned steps. It had further directed the COB to issue appropriate directions so as to ensure that use of videography becomes a reality in a phased manner and in first phase of implementation by 15th July, 2018 crime scene videography must be introduced at least at some places as per viability and priority determined by the COB.

Noticing that the follow up to these directions was important, the Court issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

[Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 578 , order dated 16.07.2020]


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Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Division Bench comprising of Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta JJ., in an order directed the Delhi Police commissioner in order to frame the policy for clearing out the junkyards inside and around police stations from the seized vehicles of the city.

The Delhi police chief Amulya Patnaik who was summoned by the Supreme Court assured the court that he would examine the issue mentioned.

Therefore, the Supreme Court, directed to clear all impounded vehicles from Nizamuddin police station along with framing the policy to get rid of the alleged junkyards due to the seized vehicles.

[Source: The Times of India]