Advocate M.L. Sharma on January 4, 2019, made a sensational claim before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that computers and telephones of judges and "very senior" officials are under surveillance after the December 20, 2018, order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs allowing 10 central agencies to snoop on people.
Mr. Sharma has sought an early hearing of his PIL challenging the order as being illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to public interest.
Chief Justice Gogoi first asked Mr. Sharma whether he has filed the PIL plea, and if so, to pass over the case number. The CJI said the case would be listed in due course if filed.
The CJI has also asked Mr. Sharma whether he had paid a fine of ₹50000, which the court had previously levied on him for filing a frivolous PIL in a separate case.
To which Mr. Sharma said that he had paid the fine the very day the order was issued. He said his intentions in the case was genuine and in public interest.
The December 20, 2018, order authorizes 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
The government order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.