In an act of defiance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday 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 Lieutenant 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, Kejriwal claimed that crime in Delhi would be “reduced by half” once surveillance cameras were set up across the city.
“I am extremely delighted to see women in such large numbers, who have showed up here for this session. It means they want CCTV cameras in Delhi,” he said.
“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 the Bharatiya Janata Party did not let us work,” he alleged.
WATCH: Delhi CM tears L-G report on CCTV cameras saying, "Janta ki marzi hai ki is report ko phaad do. Janta janardan hai jantantra mein"
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.
“In democracy, it is people’s rule and not police rule, L-G sahab. So, I want to ask you all here, do we need to get any licence for installation of CCTV camera? You all said ‘No’. So, what should we do with this report, should we tear it?” he asked.
“So, tomorrow, I am going to sign the files that no licence be needed to install CCTV cameras,” Kejriwal said.
The L-G’s 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.
In his address, the chief minister also mocked the Delhi Police, saying, the provision of mandatory licence would again “increase bribery”. “Do police need another avenue to make illicit money?” he asked.
Kejriwal claimed that Bharat Elecronics Ltd, 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.
“I am not saying that everything will become alright, but my heart says that there would be 50 per cent reduction in crime cases once all the cameras are installed,” Kejriwal added.