The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre over a plea challenging the government’s notification, which had authorised 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.
A PIL was earlier filed in the Supreme Court, against the notification issued by government on December 20.
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According to the officials of the Home Ministry, the government notification had empowered 10 central probe and snoop agencies for computer interception and analysis under the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The apex court has sought the Centre's response within six weeks.
The 10 agencies notified under the new order are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police commissioner.
The plea, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, termed the notification "illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law".
He also sought to prohibit the agencies from initiating any criminal proceedings, enquiry or investigation against anybody under the provisions of the IT Act based on the notification.
The petition alleged that the notification gives the state the right to access every communication, computer and mobile and "to use it to protect political interest and object of the present executive political party".
The government's move set off a political storm with the opposition accusing the Centre of trying to create a "surveillance state".
However, the Central government said the rules for intercepting and monitoring computer data were framed in 2009 when the Congress-led UPA was in power and its new order only notified the designated authority which can carry out such action.