The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday gave a notice in Rajya Sabha to take up a discussion on Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) recent notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt the data contained in any computer system.
On December 20, the MHA had issued the notification empowering ten agencies for mass surveillance.
The agencies include, the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation; National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
In a statement, the ministry stated that its order does not confer any new powers to any security or law enforcement agency, while adding that any interception, monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource will be done as per the law.
The Opposition parties had cornered the central government over the order by terming the move "an attempt to convert India into a surveillance state".
"Through this order, the BJP government is converting India into a surveillance state. It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement which states that the right to privacy is a fundamental right," senior Congress leader Anand Sharma had said.
The Centre, however, clarified that the notification does not confer any new powers, while adding that adequate safeguards are provided in the IT Act 2000.The government had also stated that similar provisions and procedures already exist in the Telegraph Act along with identical safeguards.
"On 20 December, same order of authorisation was repeated that was existing since 2009. You are making a mountain where a molehill does not exist," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had told the Rajya Sabha.