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Supreme Court Issues Notice To Govt Over Computer Surveillance By Agencies

The Supreme Court today i.e., January 14, 2019, issued notice to the government over PIL challenging the Central government’s notification allowing central agencies to carry out surveillance of information stored on computers.

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of IndiaRanjan Gogoi and JusticesAshok Bhushan and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, however, refused to impose an interim stay on the implementation of the notification.

On December 20, 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an order authorising 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”

The authorisation was bestowed on the 10 Central agencies under Section 69 (1)of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

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

The order was challenged by Advocate M.L. Sharma as being illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to public interest.

Seeking to quash the impugned order, Sharma in his petition claimed that the order was issued “to find 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.”

The petition also apprehends a serious danger and injury to the freedom, life and libertyof the citizens of India.

The Court will hear the matter next after six weeks.


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