The Proposed Privacy Law Of India Immuned Intelligence Agencies From Its Operation

India has been ignoring the privacy law for long. From time to time Indian government has announced the formulation of a draft bill in this regard but till now no privacy law has been enacted for India. Even the latest draft privacy bill revolves around preventing phone tapping by private individuals alone.

There is no constitutionally sound lawful interception law in India. India is still using the outdated and colonial laws like Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 to indulge in phone tapping that also without any judicial scrutiny. Add to this the unconstitutional projects like Aadhaar, Central Monitoring System, Natgrid, etc and the circle of e-surveillance and eavesdropping is complete.

The present draft of privacy bill has been pending for at least one year. Although the new privacy bill will protect Indian citizens from private e-surveillance yet state managed e-surveillance are still beyond the reach of the proposed bill.

The government has accepted the home ministry’s view that the new privacy law should not stand in the way of security agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau collecting information.

A government source told Hindustan Times that the department of personnel and training (DoPT) — which is drafting the privacy law — was going by the home ministry’s view of “lawful interception regime, as it exists, should be taken as a permissible exception to the privacy law”.

Consider this in the light of the fact that our intelligence agencies are not subject to any sort of parliamentary oversight. What purpose such an impotent law would serve is yet to be seen.