Snooping row: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, demands reply within six weeks

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Published: January 14, 2019 11:55:01 AM

The MHA order had triggered a massive controversy with several opposition parties charging the government of snooping. However, the government defended the decision by saying that it only re-issued the previous order issued by the previous government.

Snooping row, Snooping controversy, Snooping case, MHA Snooping row, MHA Snooping order, Supreme Court Snooping rowDays after the MHA order, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma filed a PIL in the apex court seeking quashing of the government?s authorisation. (Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre over its order allowing 10 agencies to monitor and collect data from computers. The court has asked the government to file its reply within six weeks. Last month, the government had through an order by the Ministry of Home Affairs authorised 10 agencies to collect data through intercept in the interest of national security.

Days after the MHA order, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma filed a PIL in the apex court seeking quashing of the government’s authorisation.

The MHA order had triggered a massive controversy with several opposition parties charging the government of snooping. However, the government defended the decision by saying that it only re-issued the previous order issued by the previous government.

Later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit out at the Congress for allegedly leading ‘an ill-informed campaign’. Defending the move, the finance minister said the IT Act has been in existence for almost two decades. “Section 69 of the IT Act authorises in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity etc. to direct a notified agency to intercept or monitor or decrypt information stored in a computer resource.”

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also slammed the Congress for allegedly misleading the people. In a tweet, the minister referred to UPA-II era interception and said: “As many as 9000 phones & 500 emails were tapped monthly in UPA2, a 2013 RTI reveals That’s 300 phones & 20 emails tapped- every. single. day. With its history of emergency & post office amendment bill, Congress should NOT be hypocritical about steps to ensure national security.”

The agencies that were authorised to collect data from the computers are Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Research & Analysis Wing and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Directorate of Signal Intelligence (for service areas of Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam).

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