The Supreme Court has directed the Jail Superintendent of Tihar Jail, Raj Kumar, to file an affidavit by April 5, disclosing where exactly the CCTV cameras have been installed and whether or not the control room and the boundary wall of the jail are covered by CCTV cameras.
The Supreme Court has also sought information about circumstances, materials, such as tobacco pouches or any other contraband/such things that find their way inside the jail premises and what kind of preventive and other measures are being taken by the jail authorities.
The court recorded in its order that, “The affidavit shall also disclose the make of CCTV camera which have been installed which according to Mr. Raj Kumar does not have life greater than four days for CCTV footage; so also about the time lines adhered to and required for installing CCTV cameras and the budgetary allocation made for such installations.”
The apex court was hearing a matter where three death row convicts were involved in an incident on March 15, 2021, where in a search conducted of the concerned cell/enclosure, the three inmates including the petitioner were found to be in an intoxicated condition.
They were allegedly beaten up by the police officers and the father of the petitioner received information that the petitioner was badly assaulted inside the prison where he is presently lodged. When the father visited Tihar to meet him, the petitioner had to be brought in, supported by two persons.
The Supreme Court had requested the Additional District Judge, Tiz Hazari court, Satish Kumar to visit the concerned cell/enclosure in Tihar Jail, Delhi and to make an appropriate report. The Bench of Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph had said, “The Judge may interview the petitioner and such other persons as he deems appropriate. He is also at liberty to watch CCTV footage of the area in question, if available.”
The court also referred to Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh (2020), to highlight the importance of CCTV cameras in jail, noting that no CCTV footage is stated to be available at the time of the incident on March 15.
On March 25, the Bench of Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph said, “According to Mr. Raj Kumar, Superintendent of Jail, Tihar Jail, who was connected through video conferencing, CCTV camera has been installed at the medical dispensary. However, according to him, the life of CCTV footage is only four days and as of now, no footage is available.”
With regard to the budgetary allocation and the kind of cameras installed in the jail premises, the court has directed for an affidavit to be filed by the concerned official from the Home Ministry of the respondent State with explanation as to why the life of CCTV footage is confined only to four days.
The Additional District Judge had observed that petitioner/accused Rahul was unable to walk properly. The Jail Superintendent was, therefore, asked to get the accused Rahul medically examined and to furnish a certificate. But the Bench noted, “No such documents pertaining to his medical examination are placed on record.” Further, the medical report under the signature of Medical Officer in-charge shows that the patient was planned for x-ray, but the relevant x-ray was not placed on record.
The Bench noted the submission of Amicus Curiae Sonia Mathur who said that the punishment Ticket issued to the petitioner and the others show that they were taken to jail OPD for medical treatment. However, the relevant certificates or reports of the concerned date are not placed on record.
The court said, “The hand-written portion below the Punishment ticket shows that punishment of withdrawing mulakat along with phone and canteen facility was inflicted upon the concerned inmates. Such imposition of punishment was not in keeping with the relevant provisions”, the bench further said.”
The matter will be heard on April 8.
The order may be read here: