New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday slammed Delhi Police, asking why they can't hire CCTV cameras for the safety of women in the national capital, and sought a comprehensive report on the issue.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said if the government can install cameras for a visiting head of another country, why this cannot be done for the security of women.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain told the court that the CCTV cameras installed across the city, ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit this month, were hired. Obama was the chief guest at this year's Republic Day parade.
Jain also said there were 850 cameras installed ahead of the Republic Day parade and not 15,000 CCTV cameras as stated in the petition.
"There were 850 cameras installed, which were on rent. It's somebody else's property, we hired them," the additional solicitor general added.
The court, however, was not convinced with the arguments of Jain and asked: "If you can put CCTV cameras for one person, why not for safety of thousands and lakhs of women in Delhi?"
The court also expressed its concern over rise in crimes in outer Delhi areas, where "transition between urban and rural is taking place".
The bench asked Delhi Police to create an action plan to put up CCTV cameras in Delhi for safety of women as per crime mapping exercise.
The court's direction came on advocate Meera Bhatia's plea, saying since the government is already spending money on placing these cameras it should be directed that status quo be maintained and CCTV cameras should not be removed in a hurry.
"It is evident that the law and order situation in Delhi demands that these cameras should not be removed from some of the strategic places, especially the entry and exit points in Delhi and also other places which are mapped as high crime rate zones in Delhi," the plea said.
The court also slammed the central government and Delhi Police for laxity in security for people in Delhi and questioned the home and finance ministries for not clearing over 4,700 posts for Delhi Police.
"The government is not concerned about safety. If you (government) will include additional police, what is the problem with it? Tax-payers are paying for it," it said.
"We are not at all happy with the progress (or lack of progress) in recruiting additional police force in Delhi," the bench said. It also "requested" the government to see the increasing number of crimes and do the needful.
It asked the central government and Delhi Police to file status report indicating the steps taken on the issue.
The court has been monitoring women's safety in the national capital after it took suo moto cognizance of the 2012 Dec 16 gang-rape incident.
On the issue of setting up additional forensic laboratories in Delhi, the court issued notice to Delhi Development Authority and Public Works Department and sought their response by March 23.