Topic- Indian polity issues.
4) Centre’s surveillance order challenges the supreme court’s verdict on privacy. Critically examine.(250 words)
Why this question
The December 20 order allowing 10 different Central agencies to snoop on people is seen as a challenge to the nine-judge Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court, which directed the government to protect informational privacy of every individual. The above issue needs to be examined in detail.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain the order of the central government in detail and examine whether the order violated the spirit of the judgement given in puttaswamy case where supreme court upheld right to privacy and tried to balance the imperatives of individual rights versus national security. Finally, we need to provide our fair and balanced opinion on the order and discuss the way forward.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain the recent order and the controversy it creates.
- Highlight that the December 20 order allowing 10 different Central agencies to snoop on people is seen as a challenge to the nine-judge Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court, which directed the government to protect informational privacy of every individual. The December 20 order allows central agencies — from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police — to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”. The government order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
- Discuss issues arising because of the order. Discuss the verdict of the SC in Puttaswamy judgmental where apex court had asked the government to always carefully and sensitively balance individual privacy and the legitimate concerns of the state.
- Also highlight that order does not provide the procedure or the object for such an exercise or the quantum of period for which a person’s private data could be intercepted
- Discuss what needs to be done in such cases where national security is pitted against individual privacy
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.