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Critically analyse the various issues pertaining to Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Suggest measures that could be taken to prevent unwarranted surveillance and its misuse by agencies.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3. Critically analyse the various issues pertaining to Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Suggest measures that could be taken to prevent unwarranted surveillance and its misuse by agencies. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

About a fortnight ago, a deputy superintendent of police at the state’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) was arrested for allegedly tapping the phones of a large number of people.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, its need and issues in it, ways to prevent unwarranted state surveillance.

Directive word:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly by writing about aims of Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Body:

First, write about the major features of Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and its need.

Next, mention in detail various issues in it – privacy infringement and unwarranted state surveillance due to its broad language and lack of safeguards etc.

Next, mention the steps that are needed to rectify the above shortcomings – stricter legal standards, legislative or judicial oversight, transparency, privacy safeguards, independent review bodies, and public awareness campaigns are essential.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.