The ongoing tussle over CCTVs in Delhi is far from over, with a panel appointed by L-G Anil Baijal finalising its report ahead of its formal submission to him. However, the Chief Minister’s Office maintained that the report has “no significance”, especially after the July 4 Supreme Court judgment.
On Sunday, CM Arvind Kejriwal tore up a copy of the report at a public gathering and rejected its recommendations. However, officials in the panel said that objections from ministers will be taken into account only if they are submitted in writing.
The panel had pitched a key role for the Delhi Police in handling CCTVs. A draft Cabinet note on purchase of CCTVs, sent to PWD Minister Satyendar Jain’s office last week, also states that the proposal to make police permission mandatory before installing the cameras in public should be a part of the project.
Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Parida, who had chaired the committee, said that the report is being given final touches ahead of its formal submission. Parida is finalising both the ‘Delhi Rules for Regulation of CCTV Camera Systems in NCT of Delhi, 2018’ as well as the Cabinet note for the execution of the Rs 571-crore project.
He said the CM Monday directed him to expedite the Cabinet note, adding that the L-G-panel report will be finalised alongside. “The Cabinet note and the panel report are two separate issues. We had extended the deadline for public feedback on PWD Minister Satyendar Jain’s request. We will take into account their objections, provided it is given to us in writing. So far, we have not received any…,” he said.
An official in the CMO said: “The CCTV project will be carried out on budgetary allocation cleared by the Delhi Assembly. The L-G has no say over it. It is clear that he is raking up the issue of privacy purely for politics.”
If Raj Niwas notifies the report under the Delhi Police Act, 1978, the police’s role will become mandated by law.