The Delhi High Court on Friday said that it will not stay for the time being the Delhi government's flagship scheme for installation of CCTV cameras in the government school classrooms and live-streaming of such classes.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad refused an oral request for stay made by the counsel appearing for the parents associations challenging the government move.
The counsel said that the installation of cameras is an infringement on the safe-space that a classroom is supposed to be and it violates the fundamental rights of the students who expect privacy.
However, the bench remarked that the scheme is at a very premature stage and the court will consider the issue when the government comes up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the same.
"Why do you think that the state is insensitive? It’s still not even in nascent stage. It’s still under consideration... It is premature as of today. As and when SOPs are framed we will see it... In the meantime we will not stay anything," the bench said.
The Court, therefore, listed the matter for further consideration on July 18 and directed the Delhi government to file its SOPs on the issue.
The bench was hearing a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) pleas highlighting concerns about the privacy of students and preservation of their dignity under Article 21, in light of the Delhi government's move.
It was argued that the Delhi government is planning to install nearly 1.5 lakh cameras in the schools the footage will be available to not only parents but even third parties live-stream.
The petitioners stated that students who will be captured on these cameras and their parents were not consulted before the move to install the cameras.
Moreover, it was stated that in light of the complete absence of a data protection regime or any other statutory/regulatory framework to protect citizens' data, the twin act of obtaining and then storing that data on private computers is fraught with danger and violative of fundamental rights.
However, in its response, the Delhi government has stated that the decision is well-considered and is in the larger interest of all stakeholders.
The AAP government said that it took the decision in light of several reports of child abuses in the schools of Delhi/NCR which proved that there is a need to ramp up the security provisions for the safety of the children.