Minimal data kept as classified info: MHA to HC

Minimal data kept as classified info: MHA to HC

One-liner: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has told the Delhi HC that lawful interception-related records are categorised as highly classified documents and minimal data is maintained for such classified information.

Lawful interception: On a petition about the disclosure of info on state-sponsored electronic surveillance under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the union ministry said the Cyber and Information Security (CIS) Division does not maintain any statistical data related to lawful interception and monitoring as such records are not required.

Seeks dismissal of petition: Seeking dismissal of the petition, it said the relevant acts and rules are in the public domain and petitioner Apar Gupta must be aware that all records pertaining to lawful interception are destroyed every six months by the MHA after reviewing of directions by the review committee and if not required for any functional requirement.

6 applications under RTI Act filed: Petitioner Apar Gupta, co-founder and executive director of Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) and also a lawyer, had in Dec 2018 filed six applications under the RTI Act seeking details of the number of orders passed under Sec 69 of the IT Act granting permission for electronic surveillance during a certain period.

  • The Centre was represented through standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia.

Monthly reports submitted: The ministry, in its affidavit, said monthly reports are submitted to the office of competent authority by authorised security and law enforcement agencies containing info of a secret nature on the outcome of ongoing investigations and other operations, for which authorisation is sought under the law.

Seeks statistical data: The counsel appearing for the petitioner had earlier submitted that he was only seeking the statistical data on how many times an interception was resorted to and nothing else.