HC rejects cheap Chinese CCTV cams, prefers high quality ones

A quality-conscious Gujarat High Court has decided not to install low quality closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras made in China in subordinate courts and tribunals across the State. The administrative wing of the high court took the decision after receiving feedback from lower court and high court officials seeking installation of superior quality and durable cameras in courtrooms across Gujarat.

To ensure transparency, the Supreme Court had favoured the installation of CCTV cameras with audio recording of all court proceedings at lower courts and tribunals. Subsequently, the procedure to install the cameras across the State began. It was decided to first install the cameras at court complexes in Surat and Mehsana. The committee involved in the project had first zeroed in on installing CCTV cameras made by Chinese companies costing around Rs 15,000 per unit (including camera, peripherals and installation charges).

But after receiving a not-so-favourable feedback, the decision was reversed. Now, the hunt for better cameras has started. “As per the Supreme Court directive to install CCTV cameras, we had decided to go ahead with the made in China CCTV cameras worth Rs 15,000 per unit that were cheaper compared to other cameras that cost around Rs 25,000 per unit inclusive of charges. But, after receiving feedback that the quality left a lot to be desired and there was unanimity in providing high quality, durable cameras, we have reversed our decision and are going to enhance our budget,” said a highly placed source. Earlier the budget allocated for Surat city court was around Rs10 lakh, while for Mehsana it was pegged around Rs 5 lakh.

The budget for the entire project is likely to be reallocated to ensure installation of quality products. The project is mainly aimed at making recording of judicial proceedings more transparent and keeping an eye on hostile litigants and lawyers. As per the source, “The apex court had ordered installation of cameras inside the courtrooms where daily hearings are on but the HC was of the view that cameras should be installed outside the courtrooms too for security purposes.” Gujarat High Court has already installed cameras inside its entire complex except the courtrooms. In lower courts each and every movement not only of the litigants and lawyers but also of the judges would now be monitored.