Govt asked for response on plea challenging 'decryption order'
The Allahabad High Court Friday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL challenging the validity of section 69 of Information and Technology Act, which gives authorities the power to intercept or monitor information through any computer resource. The order was passed by a bench consisting of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice C D Singh on a PIL filed by Saurabh Pandey, an aerospace engineer presently pursuing LLB (Hons.) from IIT Kharagpur. The petitioner is appearing in person.
The court asked the secretaries of the Ministries of Home and the Law Ministry, among others, to file counter affidavits by February 1, 2019. The petitioner has claimed that section 69 of the IT Act is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and is arbitrary for the reason that it gives sweeping power to the executive. It claimed the act is irrational as well as there is no reason to justify the power of such wide magnitude and would result in impinging upon constitutional rights of citizens.
The petitioner further contended the Act is also violative of Article 19 (1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution. The PIL was opposed by Assistant Solicitor General of India Gyan Prakash who said it was not maintainable as the petitioner did not disclose the credentials and the requirements under chapter 22 of the rules of the court. The court rejected the submission saying the High Court can refuse the technical objections while exercising the power under Article 226 of the Constitution. The court will hear the case on February 1.
(With inputs from agencies.)