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Delhi HC directs MHA to form Committee to monitor jail security

Ashutosh Gambhir

The Delhi High Court has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to constitute a High Level Committee to examine the security of jail complexes and the functioning of CCTV cameras in Tihar and other jails.

The three-member Committee shall include a retired district judge, a senior official of the National Informatics Centre or such other body of the government, and a senior official of the Delhi Police.

While hearing a batch of criminal writ petitions, the Court’s attention was drawn to an inquiry report submitted by the Tihar jail administration, in which it was stated that a number of CCTV cameras were dysfunctional. The Court observed,

“Tihar Jail is one of the largest jails in the country with an inmate population of over 14,500. It is sought to be projected as a ‘model jail’. Considering that the capacity of the jail is around 6000, it is plainly overcrowded by over 100%. It is undoubtedly a high security zone. It should be needless to emphasise that the proper functioning of CCTV cameras in Tihar jail complex, on a continuous basis, is an non-compromisable imperative.”

In order to ensure that the exercise is entirely objective and impartial, the Division Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta was of the view that the three-member body should not have representatives of the Delhi government.

“The Court is aware that the Tihar Jail is under the jurisdiction of the Home Department of the Government of NCT of Delhi. However, to ensure that the exercise is entirely objective and impartial, the Court is of the view that the three member body should not have representatives even of the GNCTD, although it should get the active cooperation of the Tihar Jail administration and the GNCTD.”

It thus directed the Union Home Ministry to constitute the Committee within ten days.

The tasks before the High Level Committee are as follows:

  • Examining the functioning of CCTV cameras in the Tihar Jail Complex, as well as the Rohini and Mandoli jails.
  • Consulting experts and any person who may have useful suggestions regarding the aspect of security of jail complexes.
  • Suggesting the protocol to be followed for disaster management and recovery in the event of a crisis.
  • Preservation of the CCTV footage and procurement/maintenance of state-of-the-art top quality servers and IT infrastructure required for the purpose.

The Committee is expected to submit its report to the High Court within a period of two months.

Read Order:

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