The CCTV camera footage of SC & HC refused claiming exemption u/s 8(1)(g) - Appellant: are the CCTV cameras in working order? - CIC: Knowledge about whether they are functioning or not might compromise the security of the Courts
1. In two separate RTI applications, the Appellant had wanted some details about the CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court respectively, such as, the footage for a certain period and the total number of such cameras installed. The CPIO of the Supreme Court had informed him that, in all, some 144 of such cameras were installed but refused to disclose the footage by claiming exemption under section 8(1)(g) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The CPIO of the Delhi High Court had invoked the same provisions to deny all information about the CCTV camera though. Not satisfied with this response, the Appellant had preferred an appeal against the orders before respective Appellate Authorities. The Appellate Authority in both the cases had found the request for information unacceptable as the disclosure of the information might pose a threat to the security of the Supreme Court and upheld the order of the respective CPIO.
2. During the hearing, the Appellant mainly argued that the purpose behind his request was to find out if the CCTV cameras were in working order and he was not particularly interested in getting the footage. Although he had not asked for this information in such detail in his original RTI application, we think it may not be prudent to inform him or anybody else about the working condition of the cameras. The details of the CCTV cameras installed to protect the Supreme Court of India as the High Court have a clear security angle. The knowledge about those cameras such as whether they are functioning or not and the footage from those cameras can be misused and might compromise the security of the Courts. Therefore, we are in agreement with the Appellate Authority that no such information should be disclosed.
3. Both the appeals are disposed of accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. Assem Takyar v. Supreme Court of India & High Court of Delhi in Case No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000411 & 412