Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to give an ‘overall and integrated’ timeline of steps it proposes to take to improve policing and reduce crime, particularly against women, children and the elderly in the national capital.
A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva issued the direction after perusing a letter from the Centre which stated that inducting more personnel in Delhi police is a “continuous process” and was “likely to take some time”.
The bench said the letter cannot leave the issue of increasing the number of cops as “open-ended and vague” and added “the bottomline is that you have to spend money on security of people”.
It also suggested Centre to have a large pool of officers containing a special section entirely for VIP duty.
“You should have a time schedule. Give a concrete timeline,” the bench said and asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain to file an affidavit “demonstrating an overall and intergrated timeline of proposed steps to improve policing and reduce incidents of crime, particularly against women, children and elderly”.
The court said the affidavit should also contain a specific plan with regard to use of technology to improve investigation mechanism.
“This would be in sync with the separation of crime investigation from law and order,” it added.
Referring to the letter, the ASG told the court that currently the police to population ratio was 244 and it would come down to 230 after they induct 4227 more cops which has been approved by the Ministry of Finance.
He said the benchmark for police to population in urban areas was 227.
The court asked Delhi police to give “statistics with regard to number of cases which are decided by the sessions court, the High Court and Supreme Court in the last five years”.
Police was asked to also indicate in its affidavit “the number of cases in which there were convictions and number of cases in which there were acquittals”.
“This way we will know how many of the people you catch go scot-free,” the bench said, adding that this would also show whether there has been any improvement in the crime situation in Delhi.
“Figures with regard to crime against women and senior citizens to be given separately,” it said.
It also lamented that the disposal rate of criminal cases in High Court and even the Supreme Court was slow, especially where older matters were concerned, due to fewer number of judges.
On the issue of setting up CCTVs in the national capital, Delhi government said that tendering process for the cameras has begun and soon they would be seen across the city.
With regard to cameras in 44 identified sensitive areas in the national capital, the city government said that the mechanism for sharing feed has to be decided as Delhi police wants it entirely for itself.
The Delhi government said that no one agency or authority alone can be allowed access and control of the feed.
The court, however, was of the view that police has to have control and first access to the feed as they are the ones who will respond first to any crime.
It, thereafter, said that it would examine the issue and the manner of sharing the feed would be considered on the next date of hearing, May 4.
Meanwhile, Delhi police told the court that it has initiated a pilot project of installing 10 CCTV cameras in 10 police stations of Delhi and tenders for it have been floated.
It said the tenders would be opened in May this year.
On the last date of hearing, the court had pulled up police for its failure to instal CCTV cameras at all police stations here, despite having taken initiative 13 years ago.
The court had also termed the police’s response in the matter as “a complete eyewash” and said the force did not even know whether the cameras it has installed so far were working.
It also said the police does not even know whether the cameras in its 108 police stations are working and wanted to know the reasons they were not working.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it after the December 16, 2012, sensational gangrape case, and in which it has been periodically giving directions with regard to improving crime investigation and protection of women.