Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on 'snooping' order, gives it six weeks to respond

The petitioner said that the Ministry of Home Affairs' 'blanket surveillance order must be tested against the fundamental right to privacy'.

Published: 14th January 2019 11:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2019 12:21 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme court, SC

Supreme Court (File | PTI)

By Online Desk

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea challenging the government's notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.

The apex court sought the Centre's response within six weeks.

The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma last week. 

The petitioner, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, said his PIL should be heard urgently.

In his petition, Sharma had termed the notification as "illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law".

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

The plea had claimed that the notification 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".

It had alleged that the Ministry of Home Affairs' "blanket surveillance order must be tested against the fundamental right to privacy".

According to the government's December 20 notification, 10 central probe and snoop agencies are now empowered under the Information Technology (IT) Act for computer interception and analysis, Ministry of Home Affairs officials had said.

The 10 agencies notified under the new order are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police commissioner.

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