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Pavan Kumarreddy   26 April 2021

Capturing photos or videos of a public servant without their consent is an offence?

Today I came across an argument between a journalist and police. Journalist captured a photo while the police is on his duty without his consent. Later police found that his action was captured, he argued with journalist to delete the photos as it was captured without his consent that too while doing the government work. Is the act done by Journalist is an offence? Do the press have right to capture the photos or videos without the consent of public servant?


 7 Replies

aditi srivastava   27 April 2021

respected sir,

The right to privacy can be understood within two fundamental rights: right to freedom under article 19 and right to life under article 21. The Right to Information Act 2005, makes an exception under Section 8(1)(j) which exempts disclosure of any personal information not related to public interest or which would lead unwarranted invasion of privacy of an individual. The media is governed by different self-governing media bodies like Press Council of India, NBSA etc.

In case of a representative of public the right to privacy is not of the same degree as provided to a private individual. The PCI has laid down the Norms for Journalist Conduct that state that degree of privacy depends on the circumstances and the person concerned.In case of private individuals the degree of protection is comparatively higher than in case of public servants which can be lower depending on what is at stake. In order  to test whether the information falls into the ambit of RTI one should consider-

1. The disclosure of personal information has the aim to provide proper knowledge about the performance of duties and tasks assigned to the public servant.

2. whether the information comprises of individual's private details not related to his position in the organisation

3.   The information disclosed will establish the transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.

Sankaranarayanan (Advocate)     27 April 2021

Nothing more answer need for your query. Mr.Aditi srivasta explained very well 

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     27 April 2021

In other words there should be no invasion on privacy of any individual, and the actions should show public activity for transparency and accountability in performance of a public servant, and when there is larger public interest involved, there are no restrictions/limits/bars in taking such photographs.

Hemant Agarwal ( Mumbai : 9820174108)     27 April 2021

1.  It is no legal offence to Video /Photograph public servants in Public places.

2. It is an offence to Video /Photograph inside Govt. Offices.

Keep Smiling .... Hemant Agarwal 

munaga rao   27 April 2021

In public offices like police stations, Panchayat offices, Revenue Dept even a Collectors offences if there will be apprehensions that the officials are abusing, mishandling, corruption, threatening etc.., videos and photos are valid because of at the larger interest of public to know and react and simultaneously the higher authorities are to take action.

Sajid Shaikh   28 April 2021

yesterday a rto officer catch me and make a fine 500 and then I ask him sir I am going for some work so he said it's not my fault go tell to government. so then I started video recording of that officer because he said that tell to Government so if I want to do a complaint to government so I need some proof. but the RTO officer catch my phone and a 2 star police office slap me and giving bad words to me and said you are doing shooting. then the police officer to me to the police station and again he slaped me and gave bad words to me and then the RTO officer said me you want to do complaint the do it I will show you my power after all the when I said sorry for that then the RTO officer said to delete the video so I delete the video. so what should I do in such situations.
can a normal public do not have the right to capture photo of video of a police officer or RTO officer

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     28 April 2021

More than the legal query, these incidents might have taught several lessons.

1.Never be on the wrong side while arguing for your rights (Because you have committed a traffic offense, your base is weak)

2.Understand the limitations.  (A common man without any background should just obey the law and should not grudge against those who wear uniforms)

3.Before revolting think for a while what is that you can do with such actions against officers on duty.

4..In routine life, ignoring and forgetting trivial things saves future complications as irritation/arrogance is common to all both in public and officers. Just as you are feeling it as an insult and could not forget that shameful incident, in the same way the other person treats it as a person challenging him. his conduct and authority is an insult in public.

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