SC: Time Ripe to Introduce Videography of Crime Scenes, Issues Directions

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April 06, 2018

Case name: Shafhi Mohammad v. The State of Himachal Pradesh

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Date of Judgment: April 3, 2018

In this case, the Supreme Court extensively discussed the substance and use of videography of the scene of crime. While assenting to the view that videography of crime scene during investigation is of immense value in improving administration of criminal justice, the Two Judge Bench of Apex Court remarked that:

“New techniques and devices have evidentiary advantages, subject to the safeguards to be adopted. Such techniques and devices are the order of the day. Technology is a great tool in investigation. By the videography, crucial evidence can be captured and presented in a credible manner. Thus, we are of the considered view that notwithstanding the fact that as of now investigating agencies in India are not fully equipped and prepared for the use of videography, the time is ripe that steps are taken to introduce videography in investigation, particularly for crime scene as desirable and acceptable best practice as suggested by the Committee of the MHA to strengthen the Rule of Law”.

The Supreme Court in the case approved the Centrally Driven Plan of Action prepared by the Committee of Experts constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Accordingly, now the Apex Court has directed that the timeline as prepared by the Committee shall be implemented at the earliest. For the said purpose, the Court has also directed that a Central Oversight Body (COB) shall be set up to issue directions from time to time. The COB will also be responsible for further planning and implementation of use of videography.

The Court directed that in every State an oversight mechanism be created whereby an independent committee can study the CCTV camera footages and periodically publish report of its observations.

The matter has been listed for hearing in August this year.

The Plan of action prepared by the Committee can be accessed here.