A day after the Anti-Rape bill was passed in the Lok Sabha—which for the first time defined stalking and voyeurism as crimes—comes this:

A Congress MP on Wednesday faced the fury of film actor and Samajwadi Party (SP) MP Jaya Bachchan in the Rajya Sabha for allegedly clicking her photographs from his mobile phone.

After Bachchan complained to her colleagues, senior Cong-ress leader Ambika Soni pulled up Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, asking him to delete the photos and apologize.

This wasn’t voyeurism in the sense it is defined in the Anti-Rape Bill, but it is a problem nevertheless. How many of us know that it is common courtesy to ask someone before photographing them in public? So many of us think it is our right to capture anything in a public area. There is no such right.


Asking “Can I take your photograph?” is one of the first things I learn in the local language before visiting a country. Ahead of even customary greetings. It shows respect and sometimes sparks an interaction that has led to wonderful moments.

This common courtesy not something that can (or should) be enforced by law. It’s a cultural change that needs to happen around the world especially with the prevalence of smartphones.


Fun fact: There actually are certain laws governing taking pictures in public. Take this example. Funner fact: Yours truly is one of the people responsible for that.