Social Empowerment Technology

Centre’s Move On “Snooping” Powers To Agencies Challenged In Top Court

The Supreme Court registrar on Monday denied giving an early hearing to a petition against the home ministry order that gives sweeping powers to investigating agencies to intercept and monitor data on computers.

Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma filed the petition challenging the government’s notification authorizing 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system and sought to cancel the December 20 notification.

The top court registrar said, “there is no urgency in the case”.

Ten central agencies have been lashed with powers of “interception, monitoring, and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”. Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba signed the order last Thursday.

The agencies authorised in the government order are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner.

In his petition, Mr. Sharma knew the notification as “illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law”.

He also sought to prohibit the agencies from initiating any criminal proceedings, inquiry or investigation against anybody under the provisions of the IT Act based on the notification.

The petition claimed that the notification was published “to find a political opponent, thinker, and speaker to control entire country under dictatorship to win coming general election under an undisclosed emergency as well as slavery which cannot be permitted within the Constitution of India”.

It stated that the home ministry’s “blanket surveillance order must be tested against the fundamental right to privacy”

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