MHA has not exercised its power to shut telecom services under 2017 rules: Government
Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said Centre and States are authorised to temporarily possess or suspend telecom services in case of public emergency.
NEW DELHI: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has not exercised its power under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules 2017 till date, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
"MHA has informed that it has not exercised its power under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 till date," Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply in the House.
He said Centre and States are authorised to temporarily possess or suspend telecom services in case of public emergency.
"The Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 empowers Central and State Government, on occurrence of public emergency or in the interest of public safety, to take temporary possession of licensed telegraphs and to order interception or detention or non-transmission of messages," he said.
He was replying to a question on suspension of internet services in the country.
He said to streamline the process of temporary suspension of telecom services, the Department of Telecom (DoT) notified Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules on August 7, 2017.
Under the rules, directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including internet services in an area, can either be issued by the union home secretary or the state home secretary, as the case may be, due to public emergency, or in the interest of public safety.
The directions are then looked into by the Review Committee constituted in the Central or State government under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary or chief secretary within five working days on case to case basis.
He added that records related to temporary suspensions of telecom services by state governments are not maintained by DoT.
The minister said inter-ministerial consultations were held with MHA, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog before finalising these rules.