oppn parties Snooping: NDA Has Just Notified Agencies Under Existing Laws And Rules

News Snippets

  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
Snooping: NDA Has Just Notified Agencies Under Existing Laws And Rules

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-12-22 08:45:19

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was not much off the mark when he said that the Congress is making “a mountain where even a molehill does not exist” when the party said the government was converting the country into a police state after it notified agencies that could track data on computer resources. The NDA government has not made any new law for snooping that violates the privacy of citizens. Neither has it gone around any Supreme Court order with regard to the right to privacy. What it has simply done is to notify certain agencies that can, under due process of existing laws, intercept, monitor and decrypt data stored in any computer resource. What is wrong in that?

The facts are that the IT Act 2000 was enacted during the Congress-led UPA regime. Section 69 of the said act grants powers to the Central and State governments “to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.” This can only be done “in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence.” Then, in 2009, again under the Congress-led UPA, rules were framed under the IT Act 2000, called the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 and were notified. These rules prescribed that the order to carry out surveillance under Sec. 69 would be issued by the competent authority, who in case of Central government would be the secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and in case of state government, the secretary in charge of the Home department. Both these draconian provisions were the brainchild of the Congress-led UPA.

Section 69 further says that the Central and the state governments may “for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the appropriate Government" to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.” Obviously, the secretary in the MEA of the state Home department will not be able to carry out the task on his own. Hence the respective governments will have to notify certain agencies which could carry out the task as and when the need arises. The NDA government has done just that. The notified agencies are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (Research and Analysis Wing), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner. But the point to be noted is that these agencies are just the facilitators, they cannot carry out any surveillance act on their own – the order has to come from the competent authority and that too for reasons recorded in writing.

The facts show that the Congress is guilty of misleading the people. The laws and the subsequent rules were enacted by its government. The NDA has only notified the agencies that can carry out the act. If the Congress is so concerned about citizens’ privacy and conversion of India into a police state, why did it enact such laws? If it still concerned, it should start a movement to get these provisions repealed. It can also challenge the government’s notification in court if it feels that any law has been violated. It can exercise vigilance to ensure that the powers under Sec. 69 are not misused by the government. But misleading the people will not do.

image courtesy: The Columbus Dispatch