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Judicial scrutiny of intelligence agencies may dent national security, says SC

Putting intelligence agencies IB, RAW and NTRO under judicial scanner may ‘dent’ national security, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said while rejecting a PIL seeking to make these bodies accountable to Parliament for their actions and expenditure.

“We are not inclined to entertain this petition...Trying to get into the domain of intelligence may create dent in national security,” a Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh said. It rejected the plea of Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO CPIL which has filed the PIL, claiming that in every advanced democracies like the UK and the USA, such agencies are accountable to parliamentary panels as they spend tax- payers’ monies.

“What they do in the United Kingdom, we cannot practice in India,” it said, adding “They (Centre and Parliament) must be having some measures. It cannot be said that they do not have any mechanism. You need not legislate on all issues. You need to have some kind of caution also, otherwise, the very purpose will be lost.” 

“We do not think the court should entertain such kinds of petitions which deal with security of the country,” it said.

The Bench said that irrespective of nature of the PIL, any plea that may dent national security, should not be entertained by courts.

“As a student of History, Law and Literature, I do not think, any court should enter into this territory,” Justice Misra, heading the Bench, said.

On the submission that this court had issued notice on the PIL way back in 2013 and it should not be dismissed like this, the Bench asked Bhushan to give suggestions to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi instead.
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