The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain an NGO's plea to look into the transcript of the tapes of alleged telephonic conversation of Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh with various politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists about certain "deals".
Advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned the intervention application on behalf of the Centre for Public Interest Litigation alleging that most part of the tapped conversations of the Samajwadi Party leader were not private and that they related to public affairs.
He mentioned the application during the hearing of Amar Singh's petition against alleged tapping of his phone. A bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal has already passed an order against the telecast, broadcast or publication of any telephonic conversation tapped illegally.
Bhushan contended that in fact the conversations related to deals being struck by him with the industrial houses, for procuring licenses and for getting them contracts and that it showed very serious illegalities.
He submitted that even if the means of collecting information for such expose was illegal, the allegations cannot be rejected and must be investigated in accordance with the law.
However, the bench, also comprising Justice CK Thakkar, declined to entertain the intervention application and advised Bhushan to file a separate petition.
Meanwhile, the Government informed the apex court that new guidelines and rules to check illegal interception of telephonic messages had already been drafted and were likely to be notified within two months.
The Government is reviewing the relevant provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 in view of the technological advancements and private players coming into the field. It said that most of the operators have agreed to the draft guidelines.
The court had issued certain guidelines in 1996 that permitted tapping of telephonic conversations only in situations like national emergency.
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