Snooping case: SC gives Centre six weeks to reply

New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre on the plea challenging the government’s 20 December notification today and asked it to reply within six weeks.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took up the PIL. The agencies notified are 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.

The notification gives the State the right to access every communication, computer and mobile and to use it to protect political interest and object of the present executive political party. The opposition slammed the Centre of trying to create a surveillance state.

Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma who filed the plea said the notification was illegal and unconstitutional. He further asked agencies initiating any criminal proceedings and enquiry against anybody under the IT Act provisions based on the notification should be prohibited.

The Central government, however, hit back by saying that rules for intercepting and monitoring computer data were framed in 2009 when the UPA was in power.