The Gujarat High Court has directed the state government to work out a mechanism for installation of CCTV cameras in schools across the state to ensure better quality education and prevent crime against children. The direction came from the division bench of Acting Chief Justice AS Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking installation of CCTV cameras in all educational institutions across the state.
Notably, the petitioners—Deepak Dhakana and Maheshumar Patel—have contended before the court that crime against children is on the rise and they are not even safe in schools, especially after several incidents of violence and sexual abuse of children in schools were reported from across the country. Therefore, the petitioners have appealed that the state government must ensure installation of CCTV cameras in schools through which these crimes can be curbed and it will also help in enhancing the quality of education in government-run schools.
The division bench, while hearing the matter, ordered the state to chalk out a mechanism for installation of CCTVs in all schools, including government schools, grant-in-aid schools and private unaided schools, at all levels. The court also directed the government to file an affidavit in this regard clarifying the mechanism as well as the information on how many schools have already installed CCTV cameras and how many schools are still devoid of the security measure.
According to the petitioners’ advocate Nishith Joshi, the state government has admitted before the court that there is a need to install CCTVs in all schools across the state, but at the same time it is raising the question of budgetary provisions for the same, terming the exercise as an exhaustive one. Joshi said that the PIL was filed in 2017 and the court had then issued notice to the government. The government had replied that it will ensure CCTV cameras in all schools.
Meanwhile, counsel for the state government, Chintan Dave said that the government is not treating the PIL as an adversarial litigation and it also wants to ensure the safety of children in schools. “We will file an affidavit as sought by the court before the due date of June 17,” he said.