The Home Ministry’s circular authorising 10 agencies to intercept information from any computer figured in Rajya Sabha on Thursday with a TMC member expressing apprehension that the move may turn India into a “police state” and demanded its withdrawal.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said that 100 years ago there was a movement against the Rowlatt Act introduced by the British government to take away the civil liberty of Indians.
“And after 100 years, we have seen that this government is following the footsteps of British government,” he said, while referring to the circular of the Ministry of Home Affairs which authorises ten central agencies to intercept information from any computer.
Ray said that the government’s stand is that there was nothing new in the circular and it was done under the IT Act and rules.
But at that point of time there was no Supreme Court judgement that right of privacy is a fundamental right, he added.
The TMC member further said that the trend of collecting data under the pretext of “some or other reason” is becoming very apparent.
“The decision calling for a blanket surveillance is unconstitutional and poses a serious threat to person’s right to privacy and gradually if this continues, this country, which is a welfare state, will be turned into a police state or surveillance state. That is why I demand this circular must be withdrawn,” he said.
Ray, however, added that in specific cases, with checks and balances, the government may resort to it.
Ray got support of several other opposition members on the issue.