MHA refuses to give reasons behind 'snooping' order

The MHA had in December last year authorised many agencies to access information from any computer resource under the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has refused to disclose the reasons for the controversial order authorising 10 security and intelligence agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.

It has rejected an RTI application filed by activist Venkatesh Nayak seeking official documents, including file notings, citing that the information he sought was "top secret". To a question why the MHA has not voluntarily disclosed details, it has said that it was not a valid question.

The MHA had in December last year authorised Intelligence Bureau, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Directorate of Signal Intelligence among others to access information from any computer resource under the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

Nayak said the Central Board of Direct Taxes which is neither security nor an intelligence agency per se though one of its arms the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) does engage in tax-related intelligence gathering operations was also authorised to intercept computer resources.

The Opposition has questioned the issuance of the notification claiming that the NDA government was turning India into a surveillance state. However, Union minister Arun Jaitley countered the argument saying the government was just notifying the agencies as per the rules framed by the previous UPA government and it was not an omnibus authorisation to intercept any computer resource.

"The Section 4(1)(c) and 4(1)(d) of the RTI Act require every public authority to voluntarily disclose all relevant facts and reasons for such orders to the public at large. Under Section 26(1)(c) of the RTI Act, the central government has a duty to ensure that every public authority performs this voluntary duty. Section 26(1)(c) mandates the government to require all public authorities to proactively disseminate accurate information about their activities effectively from time to time. The CPIO has ignored all these statutory requirements while making a decision on my RTI application," Nayak said.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 1

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 1

    Angry

Comments:

MHA refuses to give reasons behind 'snooping' order

0 comments

Write the first review for this !