Installation of CCTVs in classrooms without consent violates right to privacy: PIL before

The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Delhi government to respond to a petition challenging its decision to install CCTV cameras inside classrooms of Delhi schools and allow live streaming of footage by parents. The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh listed the petition filed by Delhi Parents Association and Government School Teachers’ Association, through advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, for the next hearing on March 30. The installation of CCTVs inside classrooms without obtaining consent from either students or their parents and teachers is a “gross and direct violation” of the fundamental right to privacy, argues the plea. The act of live streaming footage without specific consent is a further violation of the right, it adds. “In the complete absence of a data-protection regime or any other statutory/regulatory framework to protect citizens’ data, the twin acts of obtaining and then storing children’s data on private computer servers is fraught with danger,” the petition contends. The groups of students’ parents and teachers have challenged the Delhi government’s decisions of 2017 in this regard and the circulars which were issued in 2019. The plea seeks immediate removal of CCTVs inside classrooms and destruction of the footage. The petition also argues that the fears of petitioners are further compounded by the present-day problems including morphing and abuse of footage and also its possible dissemination on social media and the internet. With regard to teachers, the petition specifically mentions that their interactions with students will come under direct scrutiny and “shall naturally have a chilling effect”. “The teachers are also deeply concerned about the psychological impact [that] constant monitoring shall have on the overall development of school children,” it reads.

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