ML Sharma files PIL in SC against govt’s move allowing agencies to intercept any computer

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A PIL was filed on Monday in the Supreme Court challenging the Centre Government latest notification that allows 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor any data from any computer. 

The PIL filed by Manohar Lal Sharma seeks quashing of Government’s December 20 Notification.

On December 20, Ministry of Home Affairs allowed 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in computer across the nation, a moved that draw sharp criticism.

Those 10 Central Agencies who are allowed are – Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of InvestigationNational Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police.

The Home Ministry has given the authorization to these agencies under 69(A) of Information Technology Act, 2000, that reads that Central Government can direct any agency after it is satisfied that is necessary to do in the interest of the Sovereignty and Integrity of India.

ML Sharma in his PIL termed the Government’s Decision ‘Unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires to the government’. He also sought to prohibit the agencies from initiating any criminal proceedings, actions, investigation or inquiry against anybody under the provisions of IT Act as mentioned in the notification.

Supreme Court had earlier imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on advocate ML Sharma for filing frivolous public interest litigations (PIL).

The petition said the notification was issued “to find a 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 added that the “blanket surveillance order must be tested against the fundamental right to privacy”.

The Government order to allow agencies led to massive criticism and opposition blamed the government of snooping and breaching privacy. Right after the Notification, Major Opposition Indian National Congress slammed Narendra Modi led Government. The Party’s official Handle tweeted: “From Modi Sarkar to stalker sarkar, clearly the string of losses has left the BJP government desperate for information“.

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