Indian Telegraph Act 1885

Surveillance in the Post-Puttaswamy Era - Right to Privacy

In 1997, the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) pronounced its judgment in the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India (SC, 1997) (PUCL Case), which laid the groundwork for the right to privacy in the context of telephonic surveillance (i.e. wiretaps) and constitutional freedoms.

This article analyses the Supreme Court’s stance on the right to privacy in the PUCL Case, which was upheld in the 2017 landmark judgment by the nine-judge bench in KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India (SC, 2017) (Puttaswamy Case) that declared privacy a fundamental right. The applicability of the right to privacy has recently received further validation in the context of wiretaps in the October 2019 judgment in Vinit Kumar v. Central Bureau of Investigations and Ors (Bom HC, 2019) (Vinit Kumar Case), wherein the Bombay High Court outlined the ambit of the State’s power to surveil its subjects particularly on matters that do not fall within the category of ‘public emergency’ or ‘in the interest of public safety’.
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National Digital Communication Policy 2018

As you may recall, in May 2018, we reported on the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) release for public comments of the Draft National Digital Communications Policy 2018 in our previous blog post, “Draft National Digital Communications Policy 2018: Restructuring the Legal and Regulatory Regime”.

The Ministry of Communications, DoT has now notified the National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 (Policy) vide a gazette notification dated 22 October 2018 (Notification). With the coming of this Notification, it is expected that the Indian telecom sector may soon get a much-needed makeover.
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