Law reboot to tackle tapping | india | Hindustan Times
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Law reboot to tackle tapping

The Central government has expressed its intention to overhaul the archaic Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which lays down the law relating to tapping of phones in this country.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 01:09 IST

The Central government has expressed its intention to overhaul the archaic Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which lays down the law relating to tapping of phones in this country.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Centre stated that it would amend the law to bring it in tune with changing times -- especially multiplicity of private players operating in the field of telephony and changing technology.
Section 5(2) of the Act permits interception by the state on the grounds of public safety and public emergency.

However, the state while tapping lines has to adhere to certain stringent guidelines laid down by the apex court in the PUCL case. Though the 1885 law has been amended from time to time, the government now feels that it needs to be overhauled.

The Centre had indicated at the last hearing that there were no regulations or guidelines for non-state or private players who have entered the telecom sector after it was thrown open. Technology has also progressed since the pre-Independence days.

An additional factor that would possibly weigh with the government would be terror, additional solicitor general Gopal Subramanian had said. The affidavit was submitted in response to court notices court on a petition filed by Amar Singh alleging violation of his right to freedom of speech and expression embodied in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. He has sought a probe into the tapping of his phone and fresh guidelines to prevent invasion of privacy.