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Divya (NA)     27 August 2014

Photographers right in india


Just a quick question. Is taking a picture of a some unknown person in a public place or a tourist spot, is a criminal/civil offense?

For example, I just took the photo as she looked like an interesting subject, and the person gets angry and ran towards me saying she felt offended and harassed as I took her photo without permission, and she called the police. I don't intend to publish the photo in any manner that may harm her dignity. Will I be charged for an offense?

Did I violated her privacy in any manner as said over here: Right to Privacy?

Thank you so much
Divya Parantap


 14 Replies

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     27 August 2014

Yes Sir, you have violated her privacy by taking a photograph. Leave the law and the Section concerned under which these rights are protected. Just imagine your close relative like Sister, Wife or Daughter and you observe somebody taking a photograph of her without her permission, what would be your reaction!  Taking photos of individuals without their permission is not correct unless you are an accredited photo journalist and you are shooting an unfolding event and in the process took photograph of an individual connected to the incident intended to be reported.  Even then, if the person objects the photo being published it cannot be published unless the Editor of the paper decides to publish due to the news value such photograph has.


If you are an amateur photographer, just because you have a camera in your hand, you cannot just start shooting the people without their permission.  If you  think any person shall make an interesting object  and intend to take a photograph of such person, you should approach the person politely, take  permission and then take the photograph.  If the person refuses to be photographed, you should respect their decision for their privacy.

Rama chary Rachakonda (Secunderabad/Highcourt practice watsapp no.9989324294 )     27 August 2014

I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

  • accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
  • bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
  • industrial facilities, Superfund sites
  • public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
  • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
  • UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.


  • Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and don’t escalate the situation.
  • If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
  • Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the person’s name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
  • If you don’t want to involve the authorities, go above the person’s head to their supervisor or their company’s public relations department.
  • Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties.
  • Put the story on the web yourself if need be.

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     27 August 2014

Ramachary jee,

Good to see that you have copy-pasted the material available in the following link:


But that website is dedicated to photography and naturally they shall write the articles angling them in favour of photographers.  But what is the Law Sir, please educate us.


Even if it is granted in some law that a person in public place can be photographed without any restriction and without their express consent, will it not be preaching anarchy in the society, with all the technology available in the hands of people?  I strongly feel that just like taking photographs of priviate citizens even though they are in public place  just for the heck of it is not correct from moral point of view and for the health of the society at large. Ultimately law strives to ensure coherence in the society not anarchy.

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     31 August 2014

If a person photographed objects to it, the same will be considered as invasion of her privacy without consent or permission being classified as an offence.

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     01 September 2014

having a camera in hand does not provide any additional right to anyone.

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     01 September 2014

Originally posted by : Sudhir Kumar

having a camera in hand does not provide any additional right to anyone.



Well said in a very simple sentence.

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     01 September 2014

Originally posted by :

"I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space......"




Kindly do not cut and paste from other web sites and that too very misleading information from some website.  I believe that this is a forum for dispassionate discussion on legal matters and not a Face Book discussion.


Being a Lawyer practicing  in High Court, kindly educate other members like me with specific input of Legal Provisions.

Chetan Joshi (Advisory/Advocacy)     03 September 2014

Apologies does magic sometimes, who knows the person might allow you to shoot more. It is being artistic after all.




Chetan Joshi

Arpit lalan (Legal Consultancy/Advocate)     03 September 2014

Divya Parantap,

                                    You cannot take a photo pf a person who does not wish to be shot. Also, its invasion of privacy as rightly said above.

Ask someone if you want to take a photograph of that person.


Final Answer.

Thanks and Good luck for your photography.

Rama chary Rachakonda (Secunderabad/Highcourt practice watsapp no.9989324294 )     07 September 2014

Mr. Shivaramaprasad,

Yes, it is perfectly legal as long as due care is taken. Most people who choose to install CCTV at home do so primarily to deter would-be intruders from trespassing onto or breaking into their homes, and this is completely legitimate.This is CCTV modern era. 

SIVARAMAPRASAD KAPPAGANTU (Retired Manager)     07 September 2014



You seem to be missing the point. First and foremost whatever may be technological strides, the legal point normally does not change. There has been much technological development in Banking Industry.  Just because there is technology helping bankers to serve the customer, whether NI act is changed as to the duties and protection to the paying or collecting Banker?


There may be so many gadgets available in the world now and people may use them.  But such gadgets should be used with due care and should not be used indiscriminately,  infringing upon the privacy of others. Many times we observe that some vested interest websites  twist the existing law to suit their requirements, which should not be copy-pasted as answer to the question asked in this forum.  That will be misinformation to the person who asked the question.


You yoursellf mentioning that "due care" is to be taken. To apply the same to the question asked in this forum, just like that clicking away with a camera a person standing in a public place even when such person objects, I hope,  you understand cannot be summed up as taking DUE CARE by the person weilding a Camera in his hand.


When you next time enter a shop or any establishment which is having CC Security Cameras,please observe that,  there will be a display board intimating the Customers that the premises is under CC Camera Surveillance which is an intimation for persons entering that they shall be vediographed.  Such intimation is an indirect way obtaining permission from the Customers to record them.  Why  in your view Shops and other establishments having CC Camer surveillance display such board.  The purpose is to intimate the Customer.  If Customer does not wish to be videographed and preserved on their CC Camera tapes which can be viewed later, the Customer can decide not to enter such shop or establishment.  Having seen the board (when displayed prominently, it is presumed that it is seen by anybody entering the shop/establishment), when such person enters, it is an indirect permission.


In the instant question, the person is merely standing in a public place when photographed place.  I hope you understand that mere standing in a public place is not an automatic invitation to be photographed by any Tom, Dick and Harry  just like that without exopress permission. If that is the law you seem to be believing, tomorrow when a person is snapping away at one's Wife, Daughter, Mother or Sister, nobody can object to such rowdy behaviour. Lets not try to legitamize unruly behaviour by twisting the law by quoting an obscure website content.

1 Like

David Jason   03 February 2021

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