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SC issues notice to Centre on plea against its power to surveil under law

SC issues notice to Centre on plea against its power to surveil under law

New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging the validity of the State's power of surveillance under the Telegraph and the Information Technology Acts.A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to the Centre, the ministries of Electronics and Information Technology and Communications on the petition field by a human rights body Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, which alleged that the law is "misused/abused rampantly" by the government.The petition, filed through lawyer Sanjay Parikh, has urged the court to declare certain provisions under the Indian Telegraph Act and the Information Technology Act, which grant power of surveillance to the government, as violative of the Constitution.The petition claimed that "the data that is available publicly shows rampant use of powers under these provisions.""The government admitted that in the year 2013, up to 9,000 orders for interception of phone calls were issued and that in addition, about 500 orders were issued every month for interception of emails," the plea said. The petition claimed that the facts were revealed in a reply to an RTI query, adding that "it poses an alarming situation where it appears that the citizens are under constant surveillance/monitoring which violates not only the constitutional governance but the rule of law, which is paramount in democracy." PTI SJK UK RT