SC issues notice to Centre on plea challenging snooping order

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the government to a batch of petitions seeking a declaration that the December 20 government notification listing 10 central agencies that can snoop on people is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

In 2017, a nine-judge Constitution Bench of the court upheld privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 (right to dignified life) of the Constitution. The judgment also directed the government to protect informational privacy of every individual.

On Monday, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the government and sought a reply in six weeks to the petitions, including one filed by advocate M.L. Sharma. 

The 2017 verdict directed the government to always carefully and sensitively balance individual privacy and the legitimate concerns of the State, even if national security was at stake.

The December 20 order allows the central agencies, from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police to intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”.

The government order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

The privacy judgment had urged the top court “to be sensitive to the needs of and the opportunities and dangers posed to liberty in a digital world”.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:28:02 AM |

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