Opposition terms Centre’s order on snooping anti-Constitutional

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 21, 2018

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress, Left crying foul over a set of Rules framed in 2009, says Arun Jaitley

The Opposition termed the Home Ministry’s circular, authorising security and investigating agencies to intercept information on computers and data banks as anti-Constitutional here on Friday. Despite a clarification by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha that the Opposition is crying foul about a set of Rules that were framed in 2009, the Opposition said the Centre has let loose all federal agencies through the order.

Both the Houses witnessed protests by Opposition members on the order. Dismissing the charge of snooping, Jaitley said the Opposition is making a mountain where even a molehill doesn’t exist and added that the Rules that gave powers to the agencies were framed by the erstwhile UPA government in 2009. Responding to Congress’ Deputy leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma, he said: “You must know this and, as a leader of Opposition, your word is sacrosanct, so don’t cry foul over a power that you created — which is to be used in national security cases .”

Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the fact, however, is different. “The BJP seems to think it has ownership rights over national security and it means nothing to us,” he said. “These are elementary things. It is an authorisation order. The provisions of national security are written in Article 69.... You are playing with the security of the country. That is what you have done just now,” Jaitley retorted. “When senior members from the Opposition raise an issue, every word spoken by them has precious value and therefore they must know facts,” Jaitley added.’

‘Insecure dictator’

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an “insecure dictator”. “Converting India into a police state isn’t going to solve your problems, Modi Ji . It’s only going to prove to over one billion Indians what an insecure dictator you really are,” he said in Twitter.

“Right to privacy of every citizen on which the Supreme Court has also given its decision is a fundamental right. Nine agencies and the Delhi Police have been given a sweeping power to intercept through an executive order. India will become a police state, this is not acceptable,” Sharma added.

The Left parties said the order is a brazen attack on the fundamental right to privacy. “This order goes against the spirit of Supreme Court judgments on telephone tapping guidelines, the right to privacy judgment and the Aadhar judgment,” CPI(M) Polit Bureau said in a statement.

Published on December 21, 2018
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