Snooping row: SC defers hearing of PILs on quashing of MHA order

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of PILs seeking quashing of December 20 order of MHA that allowed ten central agencies to monitor and decrypt information stored on any computer for national security.

Deferring the pleas, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would hear the case on a later date. The pleas had contended that the MHA order was ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

On December 20 last year, the Centre had authorised select security and intelligence agencies for the interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.

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The Centre has defended its notification, saying the decision does not infringe upon the Right to Privacy and was done in state interest.

It said, “There is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption as the authorised agencies still require the permission of the competent authority in each case as per the due process of law and justification for the interception.”

The agencies empowered by the government included the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi.

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