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SC refuses to put stay on installation of CCTV cameras in govt schools

SC refuses to put stay on installation of CCTV cameras in govt schools

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday once again refused to put an interim stay on the installation of CCTV cameras in government schools in Delhi. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, justices Deepak Gupta and justice Aniruddha Bose had earlier in May refused to pass an interim order to stay the Delhi government's decision to install 1.5 lakh CCTV cameras and issued a notice to the government.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal hailed the decision of the apex court. "CCTV in schools is extremely important to ensure the safety of students and bring transparency and accountability in the system. However, certain forces r trying to scuttle it right from the beginning. We r grateful to Hon'ble SC for refusing to stay the process," tweeted the CM.

Petitioner Amber Tickoo, a third-year law student at National Law University, through advocate Jai Dehadrai had challenged the Delhi government's decision to install CCTV cameras in classrooms and live-streaming of the feeds to the parents of the children. The petitioner told the court that the government did not take the permission of parents and teachers before taking the decision and submitted that the cameras would "live-stream footage of adolescent students to random strangers".

"Providing a live feed to anyone with a user ID and password jeopardizes the safety and security of young girls... and shall directly give rise to incidents of stalking and voyeurism," the petition said. The government's move violates the fundamental right to privacy, it argued.

Responding to the observation of the Supreme Court, Delhi's Education Minister Manish Sisodia through a statement said, "It is beyond any reasonable understanding as to why cynics are creating a hue and cry about the installation of CCTVs in classrooms. In September last year, this project was challenged before Delhi high court. The court while dismissing the petition had correctly observed that there was no privacy issue involved in installing CCTVs in classrooms. The court had further stated that nothing private happens in classrooms and it will help in removing unnecessary misgivings and trashing wrong allegations."

He added, "My disappointment is with well-meaning individuals, who aired their opinions with either half baked information or after having been influenced by motivated propaganda. I am making it clear that the feed of classrooms will only be made available to parents, who will be able to access it after getting a secure password for a smart-phone for a limited period of time daily without any audio. Teachers, parents and students are happy with this latest initiative and our government will prove the sceptics wrong once again like it has done repeatedly on its initiatives in the field of education."

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