High Court Seeks Delhi Govt’s Response on Plea Challenging Installation of CCTV Cameras in Classrooms

The Delhi High Court issued notice on a petition filed by the Delhi Parents Association and the Government School Teachers Association, challenging the Delhi government’s decision to install CCTV cameras inside classrooms in all Government-run schools as a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution.

The petition, filed by Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, challenges two Cabinet Decisions issued by the Delhi government on September 11th and December 11th, 2017. These circulars allegedly allow for the installation of CCTV cameras within Government School classrooms, as well as the live broadcasting of video footage to third parties.

The impugned decisions to install CCTV cameras inside classrooms without; obtaining specific consent from students, their parents, or teachers are; stated to be a gross violation of their;  Fundamental Right to Privacy, which upheld by a 9-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India.

Further, it is stated that; live-streaming footage without specific consent is a violation of their Fundamental Right to Privacy.

It is argued that; because there is no data protection regime or regulatory framework in place to protect citizen’s data, the twin acts of obtaining and then; storing children’s data on private computer servers are “risky” and thus violate the Fundamental Right to Privacy.

The plea stated “This regulatory vacuum does not provide a citizen with any recourse, nor does it impose any obligations on data custodians to report instances of data breach.”

The parents association has spoken out against the idea of sharing classroom footage with other parents or unauthorized third parties. They are concerned that; such footage morphed and disseminated on social media.

The teachers union is concerned about their privacy and the maintenance of their dignity, as guaranteed by Article 21.

“These infractions, combined with the fact that; their interactions with students will be; scrutinized, will have a chilling effect. The teachers are also concerned about the psychological impact that constant monitoring will have on the overall development of school children,” the plea adds further.

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