Justice NK Sodhi, the former Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka and Kerala, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to have CCTV cameras removed from in front of P&H High Court Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha’s residence.
In addition, Justice Sodhi has requested that guidelines be drafted to govern the installation of CCTV cameras in Chandigarh.
Justice Sodhi lives directly across the street from Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha’s residence, which is equipped with surveillance cameras. The cameras put at Chief Justice Jha’s residence infringes Justice Sodhi’s right to privacy in his own residence
On March 22 and May 17, Justice Sodhi filed two motions to remove the cameras. Justice Sodhi has addressed the High Court after not obtaining a response from Chief Justice Jha or the High Court.
According to the petition, the cameras installed at Chief Justice Jha’s residence can also capture people and vehicles entering and exiting Justice Sodhi’s residence, as well as the front and side portions of his house
It is thus violative of the right to privacy extended to all Indian citizens as laid down in the Supreme Court’s judgment in KS Puttuswamy vs. Union of India.
The petition stated, “The installation and use of high resolution sophisticated CCTV cameras at the official residence of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of this Hon’ble Court is a direct invasion of the privacy of the Petitioner which is a fundamental right under Articles 14, 19, 21, 25 and 28 of the Constitution of India. It is a basic fundamental right. Individual dignity and privacy are linked”.
The Chief Justice is likewise adequately protected, according to Justice Sodhi, both at his home and at the High Court, due to the deployment of CRPF, round-the-clock sentries, and travelling escorts. As a result, it is claimed that CCTV cameras are not required to prevent any unwanted incidents.
Further, the petition also highlighted the judgement of the Supreme Court in Indian Hotels & Restaurants vs. The State of Maharashtra where the requirement for installation of CCTV cameras in Dance Bars was struck down by the Court, for being privacy-invasive.
In light of the above, Justice NK Sodhi has petitioned the High Court to order the removal or relocation of the CCTV cameras at Chief Justice Jha’s residence, as well as to order the State to formulate regulations governing the installation of CCTV cameras in Chandigarh.