The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to urgently hear a petition against the Centre’s notification authorising 10 central agencies to monitor, intercept, and decrypt information on computers. The court said it would hear the petition “as and when required”, PTI reported.
Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma had filed the petition on December 24, demanding that the notification be quashed. On Thursday, he told Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul that his plea should be heard urgently. “We will see. As and when required we will list the matter,” the bench said.
The court also said it would hear the petition only after Sharma pays the Rs 50,000 fine imposed on him last month for filing “frivolous petitions”, reported Live Law. When Sharma said he had paid the amount, the court asked him to show a receipt.
The petition said the notification was issued “to find political opponent, thinker and speaker to control entire country under dictatorship to win coming general election under an undisclosed emergency as well as slavery, which cannot be permitted within the Constitution of India”. It said the “blanket surveillance order must be tested against fundamental right to privacy”, and called it “illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law”.
The same day when Sharma filed his plea, advocate Amit Sahni also filed a separate petition seeking the dismissal of the government’s notification, calling it “undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights of the citizens of India”.
According to the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 20, service providers, subscribers or those in charge of a computer resource will be bound to extend all technical assistance to the agencies. Failing to do so will lead to imprisonment, which may extend to seven years, and a fine.
After facing criticism from the Opposition for the order, the government had clarified that it had not conferred any new powers on any central security or law enforcement agency through the notification. The notification was in accordance with rules framed in 2009, the ministry said.