PIL in SC against govt's snooping notification

Last Updated 26 December 2018, 08:35 IST

A couple of PILs were filed on Monday in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to quash the December 20 notification allowing government agencies to intercept or decrypt any data or information from the computers of citizens.

Separate petitions were filed by advocates M L Sharma and Amit Sahni seeking a declaration that the order was in violation of the right to privacy.

Sharma, in his plea, apprehended that the notification would allow government to control or jail citizens, if they were found in possession of certain information in opposition to its views. He claimed it would amount to "dictatorship" and "slavery".

“Every citizen cannot be suspected as a criminal and the object of passing the order is to have a surveillance country or something else, which is best known to the respondent (Union government),” Sahni said in his contention.

"The impugned order has been issued to find political opponents, thinkers and speakers, to control the entire country under dictatorship to win coming general elections through an undeclared Emergency, which can't be permitted under the Constitution," Sharma claimed.

He contended that the notification -- a blanket surveillance order -- must be tested on the principle of right to privacy as a fundamental right declared by the nine-judge Constitution bench in Justice K S Puttaswamy judgement.

Prohibit action

Besides seeking quashing of the notification, the petitioner also urged the top court to prohibit the government agencies from taking any action under it.

The notification led the opposition parties to claim that it would lead to a surveillance state and snooping on citizens' personal affairs.

“The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution,” Sahni said, adding the said order was “unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights”.

(Published 24 December 2018, 08:21 IST)

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