Delhi HC says no to Rs.404-crore CCTV camera plan

The Delhi High Court has declined to give its approval to a Delhi Police proposal to install 6,630 CCTV cameras in 44 red-flagged areas of the national capital at a cost of Rs.404.32 crore. A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said it would not give its “stamp of approval” to the project and said “the cost is a bit pricey”. “We won’t give our stamp of approval to the project. Rs.404 crore for the CCTV cameras seems to be on the upper side, to say the least,” the bench remarked. The bench, which posted the matter for further consideration for July 29, said Delhi Police were “more interested” in putting up CCTV cameras “as it involves money”.

The court’s observation came after advocate Meera Bhatia said Delhi Police in an affidavit said a survey was carried out by Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd. (BECIL) in all the 44 areas to identify spots where CCTV cameras could be installed. BECIL conducted a field study in consultation with the respective joint commissioners of police and other concerned officers in the vulnerable areas where crimes against women were on the rise. It projected a tentative cost of Rs.404.32 crore for all accessories, cameras and apparatuses etc. required for the installation of 6,630 CCTV cameras.

On the basis of the project report, a proposal for obtaining administrative approval and expenditure sanction of the competent authority during the current financial year 2015-16 was sent to the home ministry, Delhi Police counsel Rajesh Mahajan told the court. Police said the process of installing the CCTVs in the identified areas will be taken up immediately on the approval from the central government.
The red-flagged areas were identified after police conducted a first-of-its-kind ‘crime-mapping’ exercise, particularly for crimes against women.