The critics have been stating that the circulation of photographs of any person violates the right to privacy even if the person is accused in any case by the police and that there is a need for remaining cautious about the issue particularly when the privacy of an individual is at stake. However, the police have not been up to accepting the criticism and believe that there are certain contours to it which need to be seen beyond rules. But that too is not acceptable.
In this regard, there is a ruling by the Madras High Court which has clearly stated that police cannot take pictures of the accused; leave aside the circulation of the same through various mediums. The court has stated that it was not within the power of the police to take pictures of the accused while making it clear that the police could do so after getting proper permission from the concerned magistrate who would decide on various parameters of the same.
However, on the ground, there appears to be an acceptance that police and law enforcement agencies could do anything which they deem fit and are not binding by the principles, and rules which are there to protect the identity as well as the privacy of any individual even if accused. There also have been instances where the accused were seen pictured with the objectionable items, such as weapons, contraband substances, and illegally held money—the courts have also deliberated about such instances stating that such pictures affect the value of evidence and also end up proving to be counterproductive.
There is a need for the police as well as other concerned agencies to abide by the laws and ensure the right interpretation of various sections of law governing the procedures of the police concerning cases and accused related to varied nature of crimes. At the same time, the courts need to take note of the violations, wherever seen and direct the concerned departments to adhere to the rules and regulations in this regard because the law is the same for everyone and if a person’s privacy is protected by the law then the same cannot be violated at all, in any circumstances—unless there are exceptions.