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India
21 Dec 2018

Opposition criticizes MHA order giving snooping powers to investigative agencies

Opposition criticizes MHA order over investigative agencies' powers

Hitting out at the Home Ministry order authorizing 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer, the Opposition said it is unconstitutional and against fundamental rights.

The Congress, the CPI(M), the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) spoke out against the order, which they said was issued yesterday.

In context

Opposition criticizes MHA order over investigative agencies' powers

Opposition

Order against right to privacy, a fundamental right: Anand

Congress' Anand Sharma said the order was against the right to privacy, which is a fundamental right.

"The government has done it by stealth, and we collectively oppose it. This gives unlimited powers to all these agencies to monitor every information that interests them and complete surveillance, which is unacceptable in a democracy," he said.

Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav termed the order unconstitutional.

Warning

Government shouldn't dig potholes for itself: Yadav, referring to 2019-polls

Yadav said the present government should refrain from making such moves with just a few months left for the general elections.

"This government has only a few months left, and it should not dig potholes for itself as a new government will be installed in the center soon," he said.

Senior leader of TMC Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the move was 'draconian'.

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Government's order a breach of telephone tapping guidelines: Yechury

Meanwhile, RJD's Manoj Jha said that it was a cause of concern for not just parliamentarians, but for every Indian. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury voiced his opposition on Twitter, and called the government's order a breach of the telephone tapping guidelines.

Why is every Indian being treated like a criminal: Sitaram

Rule

Seven-year imprisonment and fine for not following government's order

According to the order, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies.

Failing to do so will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.

The agencies are Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.

List includes CBI, NIA, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Delhi Police Commissioner

The other investigative agencies in the list are the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi.

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