Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 6
Amid continuing parliamentary deadlock over the Pegasus snooping row, the government on Thursday said it did not maintain records of telephone interceptions conducted under the existing laws and regularly destroyed the records of lawful interceptions.
"As informed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, records pertaining to lawful interception are destroyed regularly as per provisions contained in Sub-rule 18 of Rule 419-A of the Indian Telegraph (1st Amendment of 2014) Rules, 2014, and Sub-rule 23 of Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009. Such records are not being maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs," the government said in remarks that could add fuel to the raging political fires over the Pegasus issue.
Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan tendered this reply in response to a question asked by CPM's Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas, who was the first to petition the Supreme Court in the Pegasus matter.
The government has said in its reply that lawful interceptions are allowed under Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act,1885, read with Rule 419 A of Indian Telegraph (1st Amendment of 2014) Rules, 2014, and Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, read with the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
"As per both these Rules, for approving interception, Union Home Secretary is the competent authority in case of the Central Government and Secretary in charge of Home Department is the competent authority in case of states and UTs," the government said.
Brittas had asked the IT ministry whether the Telegraph and Information Technology Act facilitated telephone interception of individuals by competent authority in Government.
Brittas also sought to know details of persons whose telephones were intercepted from 2016 till today.
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