The Delhi High Court was informed on Thursday that "irregularities" were found in the AAP government's proposal to procure and install CCTV cameras in the entire national capital, including schools run by it.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao during hearing of a PIL opposing the Delhi government's plan to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its schools.
Urging the court to put on hold the process of installing cameras in classrooms, advocate Jai Dehadrai, appearing for the petitioner, said that the Principal Secretary of the Public Works Department (PWD) had noted in the file related to the matter that there was "serious irregularity" in the procurement process.
Mr Dehadrai said he wants to place the note before the bench and sought that the Delhi government be urged not to go ahead with its project.
The court, however, declined to pass any interim orders, saying it wants to see the note first.
The Principal Secretary, PWD, has noted that floating of a tender to procure the cameras before the project received administrative approval and expenditure sanction was a "serious irregularity" and proposed re-tendering.
He has also said in his note, which is with PTI, that the specifications for the CCTV cameras appeared to be hasty and the IT department and not PWD should be the nodal agency for carrying out the project.
The bench was hearing a PIL by Daniel George, who claims to be involved in the field of education awareness, against the Delhi government's proposal to install over 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras inside classrooms of its schools.
The court had earlier said there was nothing wrong with having CCTV cameras inside classrooms and had rubbished the claims that children's right to privacy would be affected.
The Delhi government had earlier told the court that feed from the cameras would be password protected and accessible to parents and not any strangers.
It had also said that a standard operating procedure (SOP) for using the cameras will be formulated and the petitioner can give his suggestions as well.
The petition has contended that installing cameras without there being any regulatory mechanism on access to its footage could lead to incidents of stalking and molestation.
It has also sought a feasibility test be held amongst the target population of students and teachers to understand the issues they face when it comes to surveillance.
The plea further states that even the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) proposes to install 4,348 CCTV cameras in 344 schools run by it.
It has sought quashing of the proposals of both the Delhi government and SDMC as well as framing of guidelines for effective regulation on access to the CCTV footage.
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