Friday, February 24, 2012

Phone Tapping Laws In India Required

Phone Tapping in India has never been a smooth ride. While Phone Tapping procedures essentially require a “Judicial Order” in most Jurisdictions of the World yet India preferred to keep Phone Tapping Procedure out of the reach of Indian Judiciary. The entire procedure of Phone Tapping is an “Executive Action” devoid of Judicial Interventions and Judicial Reviews.

Big Brother in India is Overstepping the Constitutional Limits. Neither there is a “Constitutionally Sound” Lawful Interception Law in India nor are the existing Laws like Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 strictly in compliance with Indian Constitution. Interestingly, Phone Tapping by “Private Individuals” in India is rampant and the Phone Tapping by Indian Government is “Practically Unaccountable”.

We have no Constitutionally Sound Lawful Interception Law in India. Even the Home Ministry of India has considered enactment of a Lawful Interception Law in India. A Constitutional Phone Tapping Law in India is needed to prevent Unconstitutional Phone Tapping in India.

However, the worst affected area seems to be Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Agencies of India and various E-Surveillance Projects of India. We have no E-Surveillance Policy in India as well. Further, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Project of India, National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India, Aadhar Project of India, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), etc are not governed by any Legal Framework and Parliamentary Oversight. Indian Government is not willing to understand and accept that Intelligence Work is not an excuse for Non Accountability.

The Central Monitoring System Project of India (CMS Project of India) is also not supported by any Legal Framework. Surveillance of Internet Traffic in India is also another area that requires a sound Legal Framework. The Phone Tapping Law proposed by the Home Ministry is a history now. Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 and Draft Central Bureau of Investigation Act, 2010 have long suggested and gone. The Constitutionality of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 (NIAA 2008) is still doubtful. Even we have no dedicated Privacy Laws in India, Data Security Laws in India and Data Protection Laws in India.

In short, the Legal Regime in these crucial areas is in “Real Mess” and without these “Crucial Legislations”, the Projects and Initiatives of Indian Government cannot be considered to be Constitutional. Project s like Aadhar, NATGRID, NCTC, CCTNS, CMS, etc are “Violating Constitutional Safeguards” and are therefore “Unconstitutional”.

It is high time for the Parliament of India to interfere as the “Legislative Function” is about to be transferred to the “Executive Branch” of Indian Constitution and Indian Judiciary is looking at it in a helpless manner. The precious Human Rights in Cyberspace are under grave risks as there is none in India that can presently enforce Fundamental Rights and Human Rights in Indian Cyberspace. Perhaps, Proactive Self Defense in India Cyberspace must be exercised by Indian Citizens to “Safeguard” their Civil Liberties themselves as our own Executive, Legislature and Parliament have failed to do so.

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