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Steps taken to prevent illegal phone tapping: Delhi govt

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 20: Delhi Government today (Mar 20, 2006) informed the Supreme Court that it has taken steps to prevent illegal phone tapping during the hearing of Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh's phone tapping case.

Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium told the court that Delhi Police Commissioner K K Paul has appointed a committee under the Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) to meet twice a month. It would be ensured that service providers would not intercept the phone calls of anyone without written orders of the officers specially authorised to sign such orders.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice A R Lakshmanan and Justice C K Thakker directed the cellular companies to file their affidavits within two weeks detailing the procedure adopted by them to intercept the phone calls and also give details of how many phones were under such illegal surveillance throughout the country.

The court, while adjourning the hearing for four weeks, also granted a week's time to P H Pareekh, counsel for Amar Singh, to file his rejoinder affidavit.

Singh is seeking a judicial inquiry into his phone tapping.

The court was also informed that investigation in the case was already over and charge-sheet had been filed against four accused who are in custody.

Earlier, the Centre, in its affidavit, submitted that on February 28 this year, a total 3728 lines were under surveillance by all the seven Central Security and Law Enforcement Agencies as per the Union Home Ministry.

Solicitor General G E Vahanwati, appearing for the Government, told the court that there was not even a single illegal phone tapping as far as the Centre was concerned.

During the hearing, the court also indicated that it would consider separately the issue of sting operation by the media to expose corruption and illegal acts among those holding public offices and officials. The court is going to issue guidelines for phone tapping as it involved the privacy of a citizen and can be resorted to only in exceptional circumstances such as national security or communal harmony and that too with the prior permission of the competent authority.


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