The Delhi government’s Cabinet Friday cleared a proposal to install 1.4 lakh CCTVs in the capital, overruling Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash’s contention that it was being done in “undue haste” as the Cabinet note had reached him only an hour before the meeting.
Section 13 of the Transaction of Business Rules, which govern Delhi’s administration, states that proposals on the Cabinet’s agenda have to be circulated among the L-G, CM and other ministers at least two days before a meeting. “The CM may, in case of urgency, curtail the said period of two days,” the rules state.
According to a note signed by Prakash, the draft Cabinet note reached his office around 10.10 am, while the meeting was scheduled at 11.45 am. “While there is no doubt that the Hon’ble CM can curtail the period of said two days, rules provide that this can be done in case of urgency. In the instant matter, no urgency has been made out…” it says.
Sources said the Cabinet note was circulated among other departments — including law, planning and home — a few days ago. “The other departments vetted the proposal. Their replies were compiled and necessary changes were brought to the note last evening. The meeting was fixed last evening but the agenda was revealed this morning. The chief secretary did put his contention in writing, but he was at the meeting as well,” said a source.
The AAP government’s decision to clear it as soon as possible was linked to the fact that CM Arvind Kejriwal wanted to make the announcement in the House, which saw the last sitting of the five-day monsoon session Friday.
The proposal to install CCTVs to bolster women’s safety was one of AAP’s key poll promises. Making the announcement, Kejriwal said CCTVs will act as a “deterrent” and bring down crime by “40-50%”. “The Home Ministry, PMO, L-G and police have failed to provide security to people. CCTVs will help deter crime. Apart from crime against women, it will help check illegal distribution of liquor by the BJP and the Congress before elections. They tried their best to stall the proposal through officers over the last three years,” he alleged.
Speaker Ram Niwas Goel included a copy of Prakash’s note in the Assembly records. It is learnt that copies of the note have also been sent to L-G Anil Baijal.
Incidentally, the LG-appointed committee’s proposal, headed by Principal Secretary (Home) Manoj Parida, is part of the Cabinet note. The committee had said that CCTV installation in public places will have to be authorised by the DCP (licensing) of Delhi Police. The Cabinet, it is learnt, has said CCTVs will be installed keeping in mind the panel’s recommendations and feedback received from people.
Sources said that though Prakash has put his objection on record, which has also been brought to the L-G’s notice, Baijal is unlikely to use it against the elected government.