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Interception order passed keeping state interest in mind: Govt to SC

Interception order passed keeping state interest in mind: Govt to SC
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New Delhi: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that its order allowing agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt computer systems of the citizens was passed keeping in mind "legitimate state interest" and threats like "terrorism" and it did not violate the right to privacy.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its affidavit filed with the apex court registry, sought dismissal of the PILs challenging its December 20, 2018 notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt computer systems saying that these would be done by "an authorised agency".

"The grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalisation, cross border terrorism, cyber crime, organised crime, drug cartels cannot be understated or ignored and a strong and robust mechanism for timely and speedy

collection of actionable intelligence including signal intelligence, is imperative to

counter threats to national security.

"This is undeniably legitimate state interest. It is therefore imperative that the request for lawful interception or monitoring must be dealt with by the executive authority to maintain speed and promptitude in taking decisions," the MHA said defending its order.

The apex court, which on January 14 had issued notice to the Centre on PILs, could not hear them today as the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was unavailable due to sudden demise of his relative and Delhi HC judge Justice Valkimi Mehta.

"There is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption as the authorised agencies still require permission of the Union Home Secretary in each case as per due process of law and justification for interception or

monitoring or decryption," Satinder Bhalla, Director in MHA, said in the affidavit.

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