On February 2, G.M. Siddeshwar of BJP, representing Davangere, Karnataka questioned the government as to how many prisons are equipped with video conferencing and how many CCTVs have been installed in prisons.
The MoS, Ministry of Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy stated in his written response that as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Prison Statistics report of 2019, 808 out of 1,350 prisons in the country are equipped with video conferencing facilities.
The ministry also provided state-wise data on the number of CCTVs. While this does not give a clear picture of how many prisons have CCTVs, the data showed that Mizoram and UT of Lakshadweep have no CCTVs in any of their prisons and Uttar Pradesh has the highest number i.e. 2,757 CCTVs in its prisons, followed by Gujarat with 2,314 CCTVs and Maharashtra with 1,580 CCTVs in its prisons. Naturally, each of these numbers depend on the number of and size of the prisons in each state and not necessarily indicative of how well these prisons are monitored.
Notably, UP, the state with the highest number of CCTVs in its prisons, also recorded the highest number of un-natural deaths in its prisons, as per NCRB’s Prison Statistics Report.
The importance of CCTVs has been stressed upon by the courts in recent times, especially in police stations, as cases of custodial deaths while in police custody were being reported too frequently. In December, Supreme Court passed a detailed and specific order directing states and the centre to take concrete steps towards ensuring that every police station in the country and all investigating agencies have CCTV cameras in their premises.
Even Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court reprimanded the police that non-functional CCTV cannot be used as an excuse as the purpose behind installing the CCTV system itself is defeated, the bench had observed.
The answer may be read here.
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