To My Lord,
The Honourable Chief Justice,
The gruesome daylight murder of a young Software Engineer in, full public view, at a Railway Station, in the morning of 24th June, 2016, has not only sent shock waves among the masses, but has also exposed the lack of police patrolling and lack of surveillance by CCTV cameras in important places like Railway Stations. When nobody comes forward either to report or to give evidence with regard to the crimes committed, in the midst of people, it is very necessary to use scientific innovations as a tool to ensure the safety and security of the people. This incident should be an eye-opener and authorities should wake up to address the issue in a war-footing manner.
The incident shocks this Court and therefore, I consider it necessary and appropriate to refer the matter to Your Lordship, giving the details in the note enclosed to this letter, to take up the issue as a, suo motu, public interest litigation and issue necessary directions in this regard.
(JUSTICE N. KIRUBAKARAN)
Andhra Pradesh Public Safety
(Measures) Enforcement Act,
NEED OF THE HOUR
HUMAN EYES MAY FAIL OR FEIGN OR LIE AND NOT ELECRONIC EYES OF CCTV CAMERAS. When Human beings have become selfish islands in the society and exhibit insensitivity at the time of crisis to fellow citizens, either to prevent crimes or help the victims of crimes, at the time of crisis, except remain as mute spectators, the necessity of “Third Eye” is essential and important.
2. The gruesome and ghastly day light murder of a young Software Engineer, in full public view, at Nungambakkam Railway Station on 24.06.2016 shocked every one’s conscience. The brutal murder exhibits lack of police security as well as CCTV Cameras in the Railway Station. With advancement of science, the rate of crime has also increased equally. What is shocking and worrying me, is not only the audacious day light murder but also insensitivity exhibited by fellow beings to help the victim in distress. It seems the poor young lady cried for help due to brutal attack by a man using machete on her neck and face and died like an orphan, in the midst of so-called civilised society, in a pool of blood, helpless, in spite of presence of many on-lookers. The murder which took place in the City Station exposes the pathetic security situation, without even having the least benefit of science, namely, the security cam. The Governments are spending crores and crores rupees for unnecessary and avoidable celebrations, which do not serve any purpose to the people. The Government should have at least CCTV surveillance by installing security cam in important and strategic locations, where people assemble like Bus-stands, Railway Stations, Hospitals, Malls, Colleges, Schools, Beach, Roads, I.T.Companies, Multinational Companies etc. CCTV surveillance system has been put in use in Western Countries, Mumbai, Gujarat, Bangalore and Vishakapattinam.
3. Installation of CCTV cameras has become important and even more essential, when no one comes forward to report the crimes and give evidence. If the murder of a young engineer could take place in an important Railway Station, when people are around, what would be the fate of other Railway Stations and other important places in the rural and sub-urban areas ?
4. It is stated that about 500 trains are operated in Chennai and sub-urban areas and about 8 lakh people are travelling daily. It is also stated that there is no full-fledged security force and 300 vacancies have to be filled up in Chennai Railway Police Zone alone. If there are vacancies without being filled up, definitely, there would be no proper bandobust and this kind of brutal murder and other crimes would be committed by the offenders without any fear. This is equally applicable to the State police also. Lack of patrolling by police and absence of CCTV Cameras embolden the criminals to strike innocent victims like S.Swathi, who was brutally murdered on 24th June, 2016. When there are three railway services namely regular service, MRTS and Metro Railways, more people travel by train and therefore, CCTV cameras have to be necessarily installed to prevent the commission of crimes.
5. When a crime is committed, if persons, who are said to be living human beings, with mind and conscience, do not come forward either to prevent the crimes or to help the victims or to give evidence, lifeless objects like CCTV cameras would definitely give evidence, loaded with life, if a crime takes place before its lifeless eye. Even if the eyes of human beings, having witnessed the crime, do not come forward to give evidence for various reasons, the lifeless eye of the camera, would surely be a definite witness, having recorded the incident. From early morning 4 a.m. upto midnight, the train services are operated and if a murder takes place in the morning of the day, no one can imagine the position during night hours and many railway stations need to be patrolled by Police personnel regularly to prevent such heinous crimes.
6. Similarly, in bus-stands and other places, where people throng and assemble in large numbers, it is the duty of every Government to install CCTV cameras in the interest of people. Installation of CCTV cameras at important junctions as well as in the signals has become necessary as number of vehicles are increasing day by day and less number of police personnel cannot regulate the large volume of traffic and prevent traffic violations resulting in many deaths due to accidents. If CCTV cameras are installed, road discipline would improve; people would adhere to the traffic rules and follow the traffic signals and avoid riding of two wheelers without helmet etc. Most importantly, it would also prevent over-speeding of vehicles and bike races. There should be a clear road map to prevent accidents. The importance of installing CCTV cameras on roads is that it will make the job of the police very easy and effective in controlling the traffic. What ten police cannot achieve in controlling and regulating traffic on roads, the installation of one CCTV camera will do. Many precious lives are lost due to road traffic accidents and India records highest number of road accidents and fatalities on the road, in spite of having less number of vehicles compared to United State of America. Recently, Transport Minister, Mr.M.Nitin Katkare gave a report of Road Accidents and the details would show that India records highest number of accidents and within India, Tamilnadu reported highest number of Accidents, deaths due to accident and the details are as follows:
No. of accidents
No. of persons killed
Road accidents severity
Persons killed per day in road accidents
Number of road accidents per day
8/10 the accidents occur due to the fault of the driver and 62% are blamed of speeding.
During 2015 there have been about 77116 accidents and 25199 deaths due to overloaded vehicles.
Road accidents occur at urban areas (59.15%) at a higher rate as compared to rural areas.
About 71% of the accidents occur in uncontrolled areas where the signals are not in working condition or traffic police don’t do their work properly.
No. of deaths caused due to road accidents is 4 times more than that of those caused due to terrorist attacks.
Every 4 minutes an Indian dies of road accident.
7. In the city of Chennai, to install CCTV cameras on the roads, especially in the signals, Rs.3 crore project was undertaken, but, the said project ran into problem resulting in arbitration proceedings between the contractor Lokman Electroplast Industries Limited and police administration and Corporation of Chennai resulting in non-installation of CCTV cameras. Considering the necessity of effective and efficient management of traffic and to prevent traffic violations, the Government should not wait for the conclusion of long drawn arbitration proceedings to install cameras. It is a known fact that lakhs and lakhs of vehicles are added to the traffic and number of accidents and fatalities are increasing day by day. Statistics also proves the above facts. Hence, urgent measures have to be taken and more money has to be spent immediately for installation of High Quality Internet Protocol (IP) CCTV cameras.
8. Installation of High Resolution CCTV cameras with a Digital Video Recorder has become the need of the hour for the following reasons:
(i) To create a sense of security and protection to the citizens especially women.
(ii) To instil fear in the minds of the criminals/miscreants and deter them from committing offences.
(iii) To regulate the increasing flow of traffic
(iv) To prevent the motorists from violating road rules causing accidents resulting in deaths in the accidents.
(v) To identify the offenders of traffic violations especially, hit and run cases.
(vi) To investigate the criminal cases and to effectively prosecute the cases by using as evidence.
People employed by Multinational Companies and IT Companies, which are usually located outside the urban areas, travel at odd hours to reach and return from their workplace and their safety has to be ensured. A young IT professional was missing while returning from her workplace in IT Corridor, Chennai, in 2015 and only with the help of CCTV cameras fixed in the nearby buildings, which recorded her movements, the Police were able to, recover the body of the IT professional, who was found to be raped and murdered. Therefore, IT Companies have to be included in the Security Projects.
9. Such brutal crimes on young people, with great aspirations and unfulfilled promises, due to lack of security and CCTV cameras in Railway Stations, roads, hospitals etc., come as a rude shock and the said situation cannot be allowed to continue. It is the duty of the State to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens, namely, Right to Life, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Every effort should be taken, at the earliest, to create a safe environment for the people to live peacefully, without any danger and the said duty is paramount than any other sovereign function.
10. Therefore, I consider it appropriate to place the issue, explained above, before My Lord, The Hon’ble The Chief Justice for consideration as to whether the issue can be taken as a, suo motu, Public Interest Litigation, making the Union of India represented by Home Secretary, New Delhi, Union of India, represented by its Secretary, Railway Ministry, New Delhi, The State of Tamil Nadu represented by its Secretary, Home Ministry, Chennai, Director General of Police and Commissioner of Police, Chennai, as party respondents and in the said suo motu public interest litigation, the following queries have to be answered by the respondents:
1) Why scientific advancement, with its vast benefits, is not fully utilised by the respondents for the benefit of the people especially, towards security of the people, by installation of CCTV cameras in important places, vantage and strategic locations?
2) Why the respondents have not allotted required and sufficient funds for the purpose of installation of CCTV cameras with modern integrated control room and other advanced gadgets?
3) In how many places, the CCTV cameras have already been fixed?
4) In how many places, CCTV cameras are required to be installed?
5) What is the time required for allocation of funds and installation of CCTV cameras in important places in a war-footing manner?
6) Why the vacancies in the Police force, Railway force as well as in the other Security Forces including the State Police have not been filled up, even though the Governments are aware of the importance of Police Force and Security Force to prevent the crimes which are increasing day by day?
7) Why not create an integrated modern control rooms under a single roof, with real time inputs, connecting CCTV cameras with video recorders, round the clock, on roads and vantage points, connected with Police Stations, in every part of the country, to make it a safer place to live in?
8) Why not the State Government immediately install high resolution integrated CCTV cameras, on the roads, to prevent traffic violations, accidents, resultant deaths and injuries, de hors the arbitration proceedings initiated by the contractor regarding the earlier project to install CCTV cameras on the roads?
9) Why not all the Governments invite private stake-holders or Corporates, in the above mentioned projects especially persons employed by multinationals and IT Companies, have to necessarily report duty at odd hours?
10) Why not the Union Government (Ministry of Home Affairs) direct all the State Governments to bring about an important legislation like “ANDHRA PRADESH PUBLIC SAFETY (MEASURS) ENFORCEMENT ACT, 2013” enacted by Andhra Pradesh Government, making it mandatory for private establishments to install CCTV Cameras in the streets of their location or alternatively, why not the Central Government itself enact a comprehensive Central Public Safety Act?
JUSTICE N. KIRUBAKARAN Dt: 28th June, 2016
To My Lord, the Honourable Chief Justice,
In continuation of my note dated 27.06.2016, I am sending herewith an additional note, as certain queries are omitted to be raised in my earlier note.
I request My Lord to treat this note as part and parcel of earlier note.
(JUSTICE N. KIRUBAKARAN)
We have to hang down our heads in shame for the brutal assault on the innocent girl victim. It is not an isolated incident and of late, women and girl children are regularly subjected to assaults by men. The sensitisation of children, especially, boys about equality, respect for girl children and women, should be inculcated at school level itself. It is not only the duty of parents, but also the teachers. Unless, the nurturing starts from the family, this kind of situation cannot be prevented. Day by day, girl children and women are subjected to cruelty, harassment and even murdered.
11. Why not the Governments make mandatory,the psychological evaluation of children, especially, boys, at school level itself, to find out potential children, in conflict with law, who would, in future, harass, assault and commit offence on women?
12. Why not the Governments make Moral Education as part of the syllabus in schools and colleges for inculcating values of life, respect for fellow human beings, especially, women and educate them to treat them with dignity and also to lend a helping hand to women, elders and children, during time of crisis?
13. Why not the Railway Ministry be directed to pay compensation to the family of Swathi who was murdered mercilessly at Nungambakkam Railway Station, Chennai on 24.06.2016 for having failed to provide protection to her and for leaving the body in the pool of blood from 6.30 a.m. till Railway Police arrived belatedly at 9.00 a.m., without being covered violating dignity of the women even after her death?
14. Why not the Railway Police include equal number of women force in patrolling and bandobust teams in an endeqvour to prevent harassment of women and help the woman victims during the hour of crisis?
15. Why not the Governments sensitise the general public through advertisement, pamphlets, documentaries, short films roping in film personalities to prevent commission of offences and to help the people in crisis, especially, women?