Bhopal: The State Information Commission (SIC) has ordered Madhya Pradesh Police to conduct an inquiry and submit a detailed report on allegations of camera surveillance on Vyapam whistle-blower Ashish Chaturvedi.
Chaturvedi had filed an appeal before the commission alleging that the state police was not sharing any documents related to the issue. After hearing his plea, the commission issued a four-point order, asking police to file a reply on the names, addresses and contact numbers of the officers who had put him under surveillance, papers pertaining to the orders issued in this regard, officers who were watching the footages and place where the recordings were stored.
They have also been asked to submit compliance of the order at the earliest.
In March, the Gwalior Range IG had fined a police inspector Rs10,000 for furnishing misleading information in response to an RTI filed by Vyapam whistle-blower Chaturvedi.
He had sought documents under which he was put under 24×7 camera surveillance by his personal security officers in 2017. Action was also taken against the then Jhansi Road police station TI Rajkumar Sharma, following a report submitted by Gwalior SP Navneet Bhasin. Four IPS officers have already conducted an inquiry into the matter.
Chaturvedi had earlier moved the high court, alleging mental trauma caused by camera surveillance ‘under the guise of security’. The court had issued notices to the home department, DGP and top officials of Gwalior police.
It was the first petition of the kind after the Supreme Court ruled that ‘Right to Privacy’ is an integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
During arguments in the court, the prosecution said that Chaturvedi was kept under camera surveillance for his own safety and also requested the court to direct him to ‘return the camera’. Chaturvedi alleged that senior police officers had instructed his PSOs to video record all his activities.
“The cameras followed me till my bathroom door. My mother and sister were living under tremendous mental stress with cameras video recording them as well. Breaching my privacy in the name of security, policemen used to barge into my house. They followed me everywhere with cameras. They followed me even if I visited a shop to get photocopies, or spoke with anyone. This has led to my social boycott,” Chaturvedi said.
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