“No mandatory permission” required for CCTV installation: Arvind Kejriwal

Vastavam web: In an act of defiance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said “no mandatory permission” should be required from police to install CCTV cameras, as he tore apart a report of a panel set up by Lt Governor Anil Baijal on working out the guidelines for installation and monitoring of surveillance cameras. The L-G office in a statement issued later, however, said, the rules were only at a “draft stage” and had been put out in public domain for suggestions and clarifications.

Addressing a huge gathering of representatives of RWAs, market associations and NGOs at Indira Gandhi Stadium here, Kejriwal claimed that crime in Delhi would be “reduced by half” once surveillance cameras were set up across the city. “For last three years, we have been trying to get CCTVs installed in the city. We also initiated the files, but the L-G, other officers and BJP did not let us work,” he alleged.

During his speech, the chief minister waved the ‘report’ of the panel set up by Baijal in May to regulate the installation and monitoring of CCTV cameras in private and government buildings in the national capital. He read out portions from it before tearing it to pieces. “The report says that every owner and data controller of CCTV system collecting any information from public space shall report to the appropriate authority. And, the appropriate authority and police shall visit and assess if CCTVs are needed or not,” Kejriwal said. “So, tomorrow, I am going to sign the files that no license be needed to install CCTV cameras,” Kejriwal said.

The L-G office in the statement issued after the event said, “Draft rules put out for public suggestions/objections/feedback by the committee formed under the Principal Secretary (Home) have only prescribed a reporting mechanism for CCTVs and not a licensing mechanism”. “It is emphasised that the rules are only at a draft stage and the same have been put out in public domain for suggestions/clarifications so that a proper framework for installation of CCTVs in the city can be evolved which would help in ensuring law and order without compromising on the privacy of citizens,” it said. “Do police need another avenue to make illicit money?”, he asked.

Kejriwal claimed that Bharat Elecronics Ltd (BEL), a state-run firm, was to be given the contract in April-May, but “hurdles” were created, and the L-G said that he wanted a committee on the subject to discuss the modalities. Having CCTV cameras will also mean a curb in cases of eve-teasing in public, rape cases will drop and criminals will think twice before committing something wrong, people drinking liquor in parks and other public places and ill behaviour in the streets or illegal parking will also be contained, he said.