Published: 26th May 2020
Delhi Court order from 2017 not valid in 2020? Hue and cry in JNU after CCTV cameras installed in hostels
The students also said that they were threatened and told that if they resist the admin will file FIRs against them
The Students' Union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, urging him to not install CCTV cameras in the hostels. The students alleged that several hostels across JNU have had CCTV cameras installed in them "recently" during the lockdown.
The students said that according to the Delhi High Court Order on August 9, 2017, (WP (C) 1896/2017) the JNU administration has been directed to refrain from installing CCTV cameras in any premises except the Administrative Block and the main gates of the campus as any such action would be “an intrusion on their (students’) privacy and free movement as that may vitiate the environment of the University”. When students resisted, the warden of Chandrabhaga Hostel, allegedly told the students that the "order of 2017 does not stand valid in 2020".
The move to install these cameras began two months ago, "The issue started when most of the students were leaving the campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the administration has stopped once we wrote to them that putting up CCTVs in hostels is illegal. But they have resumed the process now," said Saket Moon, Vice-President JNU Students' Union (JNUSU). Calls to the wardens went unanswered. The story will be updated as and when they reply.
The current actions of the JNU administration amount to a contempt of the Delhi High Court, said Pushp Raj Singh, acting President of the Chandrabhaga Hostel. Saket added to his point and said that the fact that the current installation of CCTV cameras in the midst of the lockdown is a "clear violation of MHA guidelines which are currently in effect". "The hostel wardens said that the order does not hold since it was issued in 2017, three years ago. Which is ridiculous. They are forming their own law. The same order says that students cannot assemble within 100 metres of the administrative building. How can that hold true?" asked Saket. "We will take legal action if they do not reply to our letter soon," he added.