Admn paying no attention towards SC, HC directions
Plans formulated some yrs back still gathering dust
JAMMU, Dec 15: Majority of the courts in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh don’t have Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera surveillance as the plans formulated in this regard some years back are still gathering dust in the official files. Due to this, the explicit directions of the Supreme Court of India and High Court of J&K aimed at maintaining hawk’s eyes in and outside the judicial infrastructure have remained unimplemented.
In January 2016, a Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising the then Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation regarding security of court complexes, had directed the administration of the erstwhile State to install sufficient number of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to maintain hawk’s eye in and around the court complexes so that security of Judicial Officers, Advocates and litigants is not compromised at any cost.
In March 2017, Supreme Court had for the first time issued directions for installation of CCTV cameras in the courts of two districts of each State and the Union Territory within a period of three months. “The monitoring of such CCTV cameras should be done through the chamber of the concerned District and Sessions Judge”, the Apex Court had mentioned in the direction.
The Supreme Court modified these directions in November 2017 when it passed orders for installation of CCTV cameras in all the courts. “There is no need for privacy in the court-rooms as nothing private happens there”, a Bench of the Apex Court had observed, adding “installation of CCTV cameras in the courts would be in large public interest, discipline and security”.
However, till date the directions of the Supreme Court and J&K High Court have remained unimplemented due to absolute non-seriousness on the part of those authorities, who have been entrusted with the responsibility of meeting the infrastructure requirement of the judiciary, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“At present, CCTV cameras have been installed only in the premises of Srinagar and Jammu wings of the J&K High Court and some in the District Court Complex Jammu. However, in majority of the districts this facility, which is the foremost requirement from the security point of view, has not been made available”, they disclosed.
They informed, “some years back a plan was formulated for getting CCTV cameras installed in the District Courts through Roads and Buildings Department but the same is still gathering dust in the official files for unknown reasons”, adding “it seems that maintaining hawk’s eye in and around court complexes is least priority for the concerned authorities of the civil administration otherwise there should have been compliance of Supreme Court and High Court directions much earlier”.
Pointing towards the Supreme Court directions, sources said, “there is hardly any courtroom in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh where CCTV cameras have been installed till date”.
What to talk of CCTV cameras, even required security gadgets have not been installed in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, they further informed, adding it was only after sharp criticism from the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal few days back that mobile baggage X-ray scanner machine was installed in the Jammu Wing of the High Court by the Security Wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Meanwhile, administration has started working on the directions regarding deployment of Central Armed Police Force in both wings of the J&K High Court in place of local police, sources said, adding “the requirement of Central Armed Police Force in respect of District Courts is being worked out and deployment on ground will be made thereafter”.