CCTV footages of police stations should be preserved as per law, says activist

April 01, 2023 06:33 pm | Updated 06:33 pm IST - TIRUNELVELI:

Rights activist Henri Tiphagne addresses a press conference at Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli on Saturday.

Rights activist Henri Tiphagne addresses a press conference at Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli on Saturday. | Photo Credit: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

The public are entitled to get CCTV footages of a police station as per the law, according to People’s Watch executive director Henri Tipagne.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the footages should be preserved by authorities and a notification displayed in Tamil in every police station.

On the suspended IPS officer Balveer Singh’s alleged actions in Ambasamudram, Mr. Henri said the Collector, SP and the Judicial Magistrate had failed in their duties and responsibilities.

Citing the 2013 Police Reforms Act, he said the Collector, as the chairman of the District Police Complaint Authority, should have conducted the investigation against the IPS officer instead of delegating/designating a Sub-Collector. “People’s Watch is moving the apex court shortly.”

The Collector was also the chairman of the District Oversight Committee and should have ensured the installation and proper functioning of audio-video and night vision CCTV cameras in police stations under his jurisdiction as laid out by the Supreme Court.

Whenever any CCTV camera was defunct, the SHOs should inform the Collector in the monthly reports through the Superintendent of Police. In the absence of CCTV cameras, the SHOs should explain the inquiry conducted in the stations.

People’s Watch, which had requested a copy of the CCTV footages of Ambasamudram police station, was yet to receive them.. “We have a strong suspicion that there may be foul play. If the cameras were defunct, did the Inspector of Police submit any mandatory report to the Collector,” he asked and demanded a response from the higher authorities.

Blaming the SP and the Magistrate for failing in their duty, Mr. Henri said the Inspector too was irresponsible, and for no fault of theirs, the public underwent torture in the hands of Mr. Balveer Singh. The victims were not apparently accompanied by the remand advocate, who should have been present at the time of the accused being produced before the Judicial Magistrate for judicial remand,

 Though the Chief Minister had assured in the Assembly with regard to the Ambasamudram police station torture incident, he recalled the flaws in the custodial death of Vignesh in Secretariat police station in April 2022. People’s Watch had filed a case in the Supreme Court on the need for reforms in police stations, and in the next hearing, the above issues would be raised.

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