New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to give its approval to a Delhi Police proposal to install 6,630 CCTV cameras in 44 red-flagged areas of the national capital at a cost of Rs.404.32 crore.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said it would not give its "stamp of approval" to the project and said "the cost is a bit pricey".
"We won't give our stamp of approval to the project. Rs.404 crore for the CCTV cameras seems to be on the upper side, to say the least," the bench remarked.
The bench, which posted the matter for further consideration for July 29, said Delhi Police were "more interested" in putting up CCTV cameras "as it involves money".
The court's observation came after advocate Meera Bhatia said Delhi Police in an affidavit said a survey was carried out by Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd. (BECIL) in all the 44 areas to identify spots where CCTV cameras could be installed.
BECIL conducted a field study in consultation with the respective joint commissioners of police and other concerned officers in the vulnerable areas where crimes against women were on the rise.
It projected a tentative cost of Rs.404.32 crore for all accessories, cameras and apparatuses etc. required for the installation of 6,630 CCTV systems.
On the basis of the project report, a proposal for obtaining administrative approval and expenditure sanction of the competent authority during the current financial year 2015-16 was sent to the home ministry, Delhi Police counsel Rajesh Mahajan told the court.
Police said the process of installing the CCTVs in the identified areas will be taken up immediately on the approval from the central government.
The red-flagged areas were identified after police conducted a first-of-its-kind 'crime-mapping' exercise, particularly for crimes against women.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by it after the December 16, 2012, gang rape.
An application filed by advocate Bhatia said the CCTV cameras installed for US President Barack Obama's security during his Republic Day 2015 visit should not be removed.
At the outset, the bench came down heavily on the home ministry and the city police for failing to make any headway into recruitment of additional personnel in the force, saying the authorities were "dilly-dallying" over the issue as 15 proposals to increase the number of policemen were not yet approved.
The bench slammed the ministry and police and said they were "playing badminton" with the proposals by sending them back and forth over various queries.
"How long will you play the game of badminton? Either they are idiots sitting there who do not understand, or they are doing it on purpose," the bench said.