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Is it Legal to record someone in public in India?

Let’s say, you started recording with your smartphone or camera in Public in India, and right away, someone told you to delete that footage. And the main question is, should you really do what the other person is asking you to do? It might cross your mind that recording someone in public could be illegal, and it is only you who don’t know this, right? But that’s not the case. The short and sweet answer to your question is Yes, it is legal to record someone in Public in India, but there are a few conditions and situations where you might get into trouble for doing so. Let’s see what those are.

Record Someone

What Are The Rules Regarding That In India?

So, one is kind of left guessing whether they are allowed to video someone in public in India without the person’s consent, right? There is no hard-and-fast rule to tell one whether they can film in public places like parks or streets. The only laws that are there are the Information Technology Act of 2000. These laws tend to talk more about what one should not do with videos or how not to invade someone’s privacy rather than informing one if he can or cannot record. So, it’s a bit of a gray area, and it often depends on what the situation is and how judges see it.

Privacy vs. Freedom to Record

The two main questions, usually: Should people be allowed to record due to freedom of speech, and do people have a right to privacy? True, while the Constitution of India was very loud when it came to freedom of speech, it did not really speak much for the cause of privacy, until the grand decision of the Supreme Court in 2017 with the Puttaswamy case, stating: yes, privacy is a fundamental right. This makes deciding if public recording is okay even trickier, especially if it might invade someone’s privacy.

When Can You Record Someone In Public Legally?

Whether a place in India is, in reality, public or not involves an understanding of whether one may record at a place and when. Most of the time, when people do not expect a place to be somewhere private, such as on a street or in a park, it would be generally okay to make a recording. But if you’re in a privately owned place that is open to the public, say, a mall or a restaurant, then you might have to ask the owner first.

What Could Go Wrong?

Not having clear rules about recording people in public can lead to trouble. If you share or post a video without getting the okay of the said people, then you may even end up in a court of law being sued for invasion of privacy or even defamation. And it may help understand what is considered okay and what is not by looking at actual Indian court cases that debated this issue. In some cases, secret recordings are allowed to be presented in court, but in other cases, it may be determined based on whether it violates anybody’s privacy.

Final Thoughts

All in all, yes, you can record someone in Public in India and legally, but you should definitely keep these things in mind that we talked about in this post. You know, just to be in the safe zone while doing so.


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