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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Supreme Court refuses a stay on Delhi school CCTVs

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the project on July 6, with the installation of 200 CCTV cameras. Reacting to the SC’s refusal to intervene for the time being, Kejriwal said he is grateful to the court for the order.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2019 23:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to put on hold the Delhi government’s move to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its schools.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to put on hold the Delhi government’s move to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its schools.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
         

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to put on hold the Delhi government’s move to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its schools, including classrooms, a move aimed at making schools safer and more accountable.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, however, asked the Delhi government’s counsel to file a response to the PIL that wants the court to stop installation of 1.46 lakh CCTV cameras in classrooms and laboratories of government schools.

A 20-year old law student from the National Law University Delhi, Amber Tickoo, contended in her PIL that the installation of CCTV cameras would lead to constant surveillance and have a disconcerting effect on teachers and students. She also claimed in her petition that live streaming from classes would impact privacy of the students, especially girls.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the project on July 6, with the installation of 200 CCTV cameras. Reacting to the SC’s refusal to intervene for the time being, Kejriwal said he is grateful to the court for the order.

“CCTVs in schools is extremely important to ensure safety of students and bring transparency and accountability in the system. However, certain forces were trying to scuttle it right from the beginning,” he said. Speaking at the launch, Kejriwal had dismissed concerns that the CCTV cameras would violate privacy of children.

Delhi’s deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, who also is in charge of the directorate of education, said, “Today, the top court of the country allowed the government to go ahead with the project by refusing a stay order.”

Around 150,000 cameras are to be installed in government schools by the end of November.

Delhi has 1,000-odd government schools that operate from around 750 buildings. The total number of classrooms in these schools comes to around 24,000. With two CCTV cameras planned to be installed in the classrooms, around one-third of the total lot of 150,000 cameras under the scheme is designated for classrooms, senior government officials said

A decision to install the cameras was taken in an emergency meeting on September 11, 2017, prompted by some incidents of child abuse in Delhi schools. The cameras were to act as a deterrent.

The decision was enforced without undertaking any research or study to ascertain the ramifications of such a move, the PIL said. The provision of data security as also the psychological impact of the installation on young children was not considered, argued the petitioner. Consent of parents or teachers was also not taken by the government, it said.

First Published: Jul 12, 2019 23:51 IST

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