Bill to mandate CCTVs in public places gets Council nod

Bill to mandate CCTVs in public places gets Council nod

Bill to mandate CCTVs in public places gets Council nod

A bill seeking mandatory installation of surveillance cameras in public places, including religious and educational institutions, was passed in the Council on Wednesday.

The Karnataka Public Safety (Measures) Enforcement Bill, 2017, requires owners of establishments - commercial, industrial, religious, educational, hospitals, sports complexes and so on - to instal closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at their own cost and store video recording of 30 days. This, the government believes, will help the police "prevent, track and detect" crimes.

It will be applicable in the Bengaluru municipal limits and other metropolitan cities. The Assembly has already passed the Bill.

"Bengaluru already has 5.4 lakh CCTVs in private establishments such as hotels and malls. By making it mandatory, the city will get another 2 lakh to 3 lakh cameras," Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said after tabling the bill. "In the next couple of years, the entire state will have CCTV cameras."

According to the bill, an 'establishment' is a place where 100 or more people gather at a time or 500 per day.

If a private establishment fails to comply with the order, the bill empowers the police to levy a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first month and Rs 10,000 for the second month. Further violation will result in the premises being temporarily sealed off by the police. "Religious and educational institutions will not be sealed," Reddy said.

BJP and JD(S) members opposed certain provisions of the bill, such as the requirement for owners to file quarterly reports certifying that they have undertaken public safety measures, failing which they are to pay Rs 2,000 the first time and Rs 4,000 subsequently. Members also opposed the exemption for government institutions from installing cameras.

"If you want the private sector to do everything, what is the role of the government," JD(S) member Basavaraj Horatti asked. BJP's Basanagouda Patil Yatnal argued that the Bill would lead to the police misusing powers. "It could lead to policemen demanding free treatment at hospitals or seats in educational institutions in the name of public safety."