Constitutionality Of Government’s Data Surveillance

Constitutionality Of Government’s Data Surveillance

Sayen Mohanty_JudicateMe


This Blog is written by Sayen Mohanty from KIIT School of Law, OdishaEdited by Prakriti Dadsena.



State-approved reconnaissance in India gets its premise from two pioneer enactments; §26 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898 and §5 of the Telegraph Act, 1885 (hereinafter the Act) accommodate the capture of postal articles and messages sent by means of broadcast individually. Both of these areas, which are closely resembling, given that the forces set down in that must be conjured in the event of an open crisis or in light of a legitimate concern for open security. The assignment of giving requests for the capture of interchanges is vested in an official approved by the Central or the State government. This blog analyzes whether the preconditions set by the governing body for permitting block attempt to go about as sufficient protections. The second piece of the blog investigates the constraints of optional force given to such approved officials to capture and confine interchanges.

Observation by law implementation organizations establishes a break of a resident’s Fundamental Rights of security and the Freedom of Speech and Expression. It should in this manner be legitimized against convincing contentions against infringement of social equality. The right to security in India has for some time been considered excessively ‘expansive and moralistic’ to be characterized judicially. The legal executive, however, has been cautious enough to not dole out an unbound understanding of it. It has perceived that the break of security must be adjusted against a convincing open intrigue and must be chosen as a cautious assessment of the realities of a specific case. Simultaneously, Indian courts have additionally legitimized reconnaissance by the state as long as such observation isn’t unlawful or unpretentious and is inside limits. While figuring out what establishes lawful observation, courts have dismissed “earlier legal examination” as a compulsory prerequisite and have held that managerial shields are adequate to legitimize a demonstration of reconnaissance.


The notion of informational privacy has become salient in the past decade but India has privacy jurisprudence going back several decades. Most of it focuses on privacy in the context of harms caused due to a violation of privacy. This jurisprudence changed in 2017 when the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India held that the Indian Constitution included a fundamental right to privacy. While deciding the case, though the court listed a long line of jurisprudence, the central deficiency in the existing jurisprudence in the court’s opinion was the lack of a “doctrinal formulation” that could help decide whether privacy is constitutionally protected.

The jurisprudence on privacy, therefore, changed—from being valued as a right that protected other ends to be an end in itself. Along with holding that privacy is a fundamental right, the judgment also declared informational privacy to be a subset of the right to privacy. This shift is consistent with the approach taken in the bill, which aims to protect the informational privacy of individuals by creating a preventive framework that regulates how businesses collect and use personal data, as opposed to protecting informational privacy with a view to the consequent harms caused by the violation of such privacy. In doing so, it focuses primarily on regulating practices related to the use of data.


The Order is given under Rule 4 of the IT Act Interception Rules 2009, which gives the Home Ministry the privilege to appoint its forces of capture attempt, observing and decoding to an “organization of the Government”. The 2009 Rules organization a few protections to oblige this force. The December request allows these forces to 10 security and insight offices, which is the majority of the Indian state’s law requirement apparatus. Ostensibly, this development changes the idea of block attempt and reconnaissance in India from a crisis convention in the possession of a solitary functionary to a broadly utilized device of law implementation. Thusly, it is worried that an out of date observation structure is being sent by the Government at this scale. This disregards center standards of the Indian protection statute.

Observation by law requirement offices has been at the core of Indian protection rights law. The early milestone instances of M.P. Sharma, Kharak Singh, and Gobind were totally worried about physical observation by neighborhood police, and a combined perusing of these cases builds up barely custom-made reconnaissance and the requirement for a convincing state enthusiasm as essential standards of Indian protection statute. The PUCL judgment, given with regards to crisis phone tapping, held that legal oversight was not a fundamental precondition of protected observation, in spite of maintaining the states of convincing state intrigue and barely custom-fitted reconnaissance. These rules were regulated as the IT Act Interception Rules 2009, which give shields against observation, and which are being asserted by the Ministry of Home Affairs as giving legitimate legitimacy to this request.


The laws governing this are the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which deals with interception of calls, and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, which deals with interception of data. Under both laws, only the government, under certain circumstances, is permitted to conduct surveillance and not private actors. Moreover, hacking is expressly prohibited under the IT Act. Section 43 and Section 66 of the IT Act covers the civil and criminal offenses of data theft and hacking respectively. Section 66B covers punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication. The punishment includes imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.


A. Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. v. Union Of India is a landmark case and the judgment was given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The judgment given in the case by the Bench gave a new perspective to the Right to Privacy of the citizens. It was held that the Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The Hon’ble Court upheld the Aadhar Act and stuck down the provision of the Act which was unconstitutional. It was held by the Court that the Right to Privacy of the citizens has to be protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution. The Court explicitly overruled the previous landmark judgments of the Supreme Court Kharak Singh v. State of UP and M.P Sharma v. Satish Chandra in which it was held that Right to Privacy is not a Fundamental Right of the citizens under the Indian Constitution.

B. Peoples Union for liberties v. Union of India; for this situation, the Supreme Court of India decided that phone tapping was a genuine infringement of an individual’s protection. By and by, the lawful obstruction might be embraced in specific conditions determined in the Wire taping arrangement. This kind of lawful intercession is dependent upon specific rules that will fill in as an examination concerning wiretapping by law requirement offices. It additionally guided the legislature to make rules and make a move to legitimately stop the correspondence. It additionally gave essential rules to such disturbance.


As a matter of first importance, in the event that we investigate the entire circumstance of information reconnaissance done by the Government, Earlier, right to security is an intrinsically perceived right as in its Landmark Judgment, the court was worried about the person’s opportunity and right to protection was made the crucial right of each resident under the Indian Constitution. Thus , there is a security that has been created to be in accordance with opportunity intrigues that doesn’t need to be in accordance with the more extensive right to the protection which can be found in the Supreme Court Aadhar purview in 2018, where the court-ordered legal investigation for data sharing solicitations for Aadhar information in which the court broke down the state basic access to data against the state’s new, more extensive rights boundaries and maintained the Aadhar demonstration wherein the Aadhar card was connected with PAN Card. In doing as such, the court decided that legal oversight is a vital precondition for constraining the interests of privacy.

Second of all, in both the instance of Puttaswamy which is the privilege to protection and Aadhar, the Supreme Court has seen and perceived the profoundly expansive job of the Internet and PCs over the most recent couple of years in India as of now, People’s lives are profoundly interconnected by the innovation, for example, Web as now all the things are done carefully and an individual can do anything on the web effectively that is the reason it is helpful and the greater part of people, in general, is associated with web and because of which huge sums all sort of information including individual, money related and delicate information go through the present PCs on a scale predictable with the setting in which the rules were defined. This presents genuine dangers to the opportunity of articulation and activism on the Internet and especially regulating all law requirement in India. Therefore, it appears to be sensible to alter the structure created in the phone age to current observation.


Capture attempts of interchanges under the Telegraph Act and the Indian Post office act disregard not exclusively one’s protection yet in addition to one’s ability to speak freely and articulate. In addition, orders for the tapping of phones disregard not just the protection of the person being referred to yet additionally that of the individual he/she is speaking with. Considering the genuine idea of this break it is completely important that the forces empowering such capture are intrinsically approved as well as enough shielded. The Fundamental Rights proclaimed by Article 19(1) can’t be reduced on any ground outside the applicable arrangements of Cls. 2-6. The prohibitive conditions in Cls. (2)-(6) of Article 19 are thorough and are to be carefully understood. The open crisis isn’t one of the conditions counted under Article 19 for abridging major opportunities. In addition, it needs satisfactory protects by vesting outright optional force in a non-legal managerial power. Regardless of whether one were to overlook the enormous potential for abuse of these forces, it is hard to consider that the interference arrangements would stand an examination of defending ability.

Through the span of the most recent couple of years, India has been perilously falling in line that shields it from transforming into an authoritarian reconnaissance state. In 2011, India was the third most meddlesome state with 1,699 solicitations for expulsion made to Google; in 2012 that number expanded to 2529. The media is swirling with reports about the Intelligence Bureau needing Internet Service Providers to log all client subtleties and arbitrary residents being recorded by the Delhi Police for “looking dubious.” It gets fundamental under these conditions to address where the state’s capacity closes and a residents’ protection starts. The greater part of the data with respect to ventures like the CMS and the CCTNS is cloudy and unsubstantiated. In any case, under the appearance of national security, government authorities have would not uncover any data in regards to the sort of data included inside these frameworks and whether any responsibility estimates exist. For example, there have been clashing conclusions from different priests with respect to whether the web would likewise be under the oversight of the CMS. Significantly more critically, residents are ignorant of what rights and cures are accessible to them in occurrences of infringement of their security.

The insight offices that have been entrusted with taking care of data gathered under these frameworks have not been made under any enactment and consequently not expose to any parliamentary oversight. Endeavors like the Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 have been racked and not returned to since their presentation. The knowledge offices that have been made through leader orders appreciate tremendous and unbridled forces that make them responsible to nobody. Under the watchful eye of, vesting the Indian law authorization offices with touchy data that can be so promptly abused it is basic to guarantee that an instrument to check the utilization and abuse of that force exist. A three appointed authority seat of the Supreme Court has as of late chose to engage a Public Interest Litigation planned for exposing the insight offices to evaluating by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Be that as it may, the PIL regardless of whether fruitful will even now just figure out how to start to expose all the wide and unbridled forces appreciated by the Indian insight organizations. The topic of the defendability of block attempt powers, in any case, has not been exposed to as much examination as is important. Particularly when the legislature has been supposed to have acquired the capacity for mass trawl observation such assurance by the Indian courts can’t come soon enough.






Leave a Comment