Rajya SabhaLok Sabha

January 3, 2019

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray speaks on the issue of Home Ministry Circular violating privacy of citizens

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray speaks on the issue of Home Ministry Circular violating privacy of citizens

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Thank you Sir. This is the 100th year of the Indian people’s movement against the Rowlatt Acts, which were introduced by the British Government to take away the Civil liberties of our countrymen. And after 100 years we have seen that this Government is following the footsteps of the British Government as the Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced recently a Circular which authorises 10 Central agencies to intercept and monitor any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer on grounds of purported internal security.

Now Sir, the Government’s stand is that this is nothing new, whatever has been done is under the provisions of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 and the rules made in 2009.

But Sir, at that point of time there was no Supreme Court judgement that Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right. It has been recently pronounced by the Supreme Court last year and Supreme Court in its judgement on the Right to Privacy and Aadhaar has established the twin tests of necessity and proportionality. The Ministry of Home Affairs circular fails on both these counts.

Sir, the trend of collecting data under the pretext of some or the other reason is becoming very apparent. The decision calling for a blanket surveillance is unconstitutional and poses a serious threat to person’s right to privacy and gradually if this continues, this country, which is a welfare state will be turned into a police state or surveillance state.

That is why I demand the circular must be withdrawn (as it is against the citizens). In specific cases, with some checks and balances; Government should resort to it.