Madras HC directs TN govt to use CCTV cameras in rural local body polls

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure the use of CCTV cameras in the rural local body polls to be held in nine districts of the state on October 6 and October 9.

Hearing a petition filed by the AIADMK seeking free and fair polls, a bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu said that CCTVs are a must and there must be no break in surveillance of strong rooms and protection of ballot boxes.

The Chief Justice said that technology must be used to the full to ensure free and fair polls. “We have technology and resources so that no person can stand up and complain that he has been wronged,” he said.

Noting that Tamil Nadu shows the way for free and fair polls, he said: “This is a premier state and we should be proud of that. The celebration of democracy taking place over here should be an example for others to emulate.”

He also directed Advocate General R. Shanmugha Sundaram to consult his predecessor, Vijay Narayan, and submit before the court the measures that could be taken for electronic surveillance of the elections.

Narayan, appearing for the AIADMK in the case, told the court that the opposition party has received a “vague” reply from the State Election Commission on its petition regarding electronic surveillance, and that there was no reply regarding video recording of the election in critical and vulnerable booths using CCTV cameras.

He said that in certain such booths, there won’t be any internet connection, and there was no mention of the video surveillance of transport of ballot boxes from booths to strong rooms and to counting halls.

The case is slated for further hearing on October 1.