Halfway into his speech at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal waved a sheaf of papers in the air. “What should I do with them?” he asked the packed house. “Tear them,” a section of the audience screamed. And so he did — Kejriwal tore up a report on CCTV cameras, prepared by a committee appointed by Lt-Governor Anil Baijal, as the 10,000-strong crowd cheered him on.
The action was reminiscent of his days as an activist. In 2011, when the UPA government was in power, he had torn and set on fire a draft bill on Jan Lokpal.
Sunday’s event was billed as a mega gathering of RWAs and market associations for their feedback on the draft report prepared by the L-G panel, chaired by Principal Secretary (Home) Manoj Parida, which emphasises on the privacy implications of CCTVs. Public feedback for the proposal has been invited till July 30.
Kejriwal rejected the recommendations, including the proposal to make Delhi Police the custodian of all CCTVs in public places, made by the panel. He said the proposal that DCP (Licensing) will have to authorise CCTV installations in public places would encourage corruption. “They cannot even do proper policing and they talk about licence. What is the meaning of licence? It is just another means to earn money,” he said.
In a statement, the L-G House termed it is a “misconception”. The Parida report prescribes a “reporting mechanism”, not licensing, it said.
“Recently, at the national level too, the Justice Srikrishna Committee has submitted its report on data protection law, as privacy concerns have to be addressed without compromising the security and safety aspects,” said the statement.
It also pointed out that there have been reported instances of misuse of CCTVs to intrude on the privacy of individuals, so steps to prevent it from becoming a tool to violate privacy of individuals was important.
Kejriwal added that the location of where the 1.4 lakh CCTVs will be put up under the PWD project, which awaits a Cabinet nod, will be jointly decided by the governing bodies of the RWAs, market associations, local police and representatives of the private company from which the cameras will be bought.
“We have been trying to install cameras for the last three years. But the BJP, through the L-G and officers created obstacles in every step. But after a long struggle, we made some progress. Just as work was to be awarded to a government company, the L-G formed a panel. It says licence from the police is mandatory to install CCTVs even outside your entrance.
“Police will decide if you need CCTVs or not? Who will decide? People or the L-G, or the police, or BJP? People will decide. This is democracy,” the CM said, asking people to respond with a show of hands after each sentence.
As he tore up the report, Kejriwal said, “I will now put my notings on the file and sign it.”
Apart from Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and DCW chief Swati Maliwal, Delhi Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel, PWD engineer-in-chief Rakesh Kumar Agrawal and principal chief engineer Umesh Mishra were also present on the dais.