SC allows Subramanian Swamy to amend plea on Centre's security clearance policy

Swamy had moved the apex court seeking a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to frame the guidelines for granting of security clearances to firms.

Published: 31st July 2017 07:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2017 07:21 PM   |  A+A-

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy (File | PTI)


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today allowed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to amend his plea challenging recent policy guidelines of the Centre on the grant of security clearances to companies.

Swamy had moved the apex court seeking a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to frame the guidelines for granting of security clearances to firms, including those who want to run FM radio channels and are accused of economic offences.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud allowed Swamy to amend his petition when it was pointed out that the new policy was even "worse" as instead of MHA, the power has been given to other ministries which are not well equipped to grant security clearances.

"They have made it worse by allowing the ministry other than MHA to give clearance to the companies. Only the MHA is equipped with Intelligence Bureau (IB) to take such security decisions," he said.

"They have delegated the power to Information and Broadcasting ministry and under the Constitution, this is not permissible. Moreover, I and B Ministry has not filed affidavit in the case," Swamy said.

The recent guidelines have entrusted the I and B ministry with the authority to grant clearances to firms desirous to run FM radio channels.

Swamy, in his plea, had sought a direction to the MHA to frame "foolproof" and "consistent" guidelines for grant of security clearances to firms accused of economic offences, from taking part in public auctions including grant of licenses to run FM radio channels.

On July 7, the apex court had asked the Centre to provide a copy of its revised security clearance policy to the BJP leader.

The Rajya Sabha MP had earlier submitted that the Delhi and the Bombay high courts had taken divergent views on the issue of security clearance by the MHA while dealing with the e-auction process of private FM radio channels.

The Bombay HC had held that the grant of security clearance fell under the exclusive domain of the MHA, the plea had said, adding that the Delhi High Court, on the other hand, had allowed Sun Group (controlled by Kalanithi Maran and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, who are accused in the Aircel-Maxis scam case) to bid for the airwaves auction.

Talking about the nod to the Sun Group to take part in the auction process, Swamy said the MHA had refused security clearance for the group, but the then attorney general had overturned the objection and gave an opinion in favour of the group.

Seeking guidelines from the court, Swamy's plea said that "inadequate" security clearance policy of the government and the two judgements of the Delhi and the Bombay high courts could be used as a ground to bypass the "mandatory security clearance process by the companies" which could pose a threat to national security.

It was alleged that "inadequacy" and "non-uniformity" in security clearance policy of the government has created this problem where a "tainted person or a company" can be part of a process which can have serious impact on the national security.

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