Discomfort of former chief justice on CCTV installation misplaced: Punjab and Haryana HC
Reacting to the plea by former Karnataka chief justice NK Sodhi against installation of CCTV cameras opposite to his house in Sector 4 here, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said that his discomfort on Chandigarh administration’s move is “misplaced”.
The high court bench of Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Sant Parkash, which dealt with his plea on July 20, disposed it of after taking note of UT’s response that former chief justice’s apprehension has been taken care of while installing CCTV cameras. The former chief justice lives in House Number 36, opposite to official residence of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana high court, RS Jha.
“Security agencies have balanced the privacy of residents of area with the threat perception of the protected person by permanently adjusting the cameras in such a way so that privacy of not only the house of petitioner, but also of other houses in vicinity is maintained,” a report submitted by UT administration to the high court said.
The report had come in the wake of former Karnataka chief justice approaching the high court seeking directions for removing the CCTV cameras installed near the front boundary of official residence of chief justice Jha. The CCTV cameras installed are high resolution and infrared capable, which can capture detailed images up to 150 metres and thus, can easily invade the privacy, which is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution to the petitioner, he had told the court.
Earlier, he had taken up the matter with the high court in May on administrative side and upon response sought on the same from Chandigarh DGP, the high court administration had said that after site inspection, examining the footage and working of the CCTVs installed, it was found that none of the cameras cover the houses on opposite side of the street and only cover the area up to the road berm.
“We are, thus, satisfied that the discomfort shown by the petitioner on installation of cameras is misplaced,” recorded the high court bench while disposing of the matter on July 20.
As of his demand of framing of rules on this issue, the court opined that no such direction is required to be given and left it to the discretion of the administration to take a decision as and when the situation warrants.