ED Current Affairs - 2020

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Karnataka High Court quashes ED freeze on Greenpeace Bank Accounts

The Karnataka High Court has quashed the order of Enforcement Directorate (ED) which froze the bank accounts of Greenpeace India. The court noted that the validity of the ED order has lost its efficacy on account of efflux of time as the period of 60 days has expired.

The accounts of the Greenpeace India were frozen on the account of the alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The freezing of accounts had led to a financial crisis for the organisation and forced it to reduce its workforce substantially.

Why the accounts were frozen?

The Enforcement Directorate had alleged that Greenpeace India had incorporated Direct Dialogue Initiatives India Pvt Ltd (DDIIPL) in 2016 after the Central government had cancelled Greenpeace India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence in September 2015 for allegedly violating norms.

The ED argues that DDIIPL was created to facilitate the operational activities of Greenpeace. ED also alleged that DDIIPL spent around Rs 21 crore for its expenses since it was set up, “with no substantial revenue generation so far”.

Greenpeace India had strongly objected to the ED claims and had stated they would provide the government authorities with required financial details as they do not have anything to hide. Alleging the claims of ED as false and frivolous, Greenpeace India had said that false claims and accusations were part of a larger design to muzzle democratic dissent in the country and had challenged the order of ED in the Karnataka High Court.

Greenpeace India

Greenpeace India is the Indian arm of the international NGO Greenpeace. The NGO mainly works in the area of environmental conservation. Greenpeace through non-violent, creative confrontation aims to expose environmental problems and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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PIL in Supreme Court against govt’s order to snoop on computers

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma challenging the government’s notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.

What was the Order of the Home Ministry?

As per the notification of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, 10 central probe and snoop agencies are empowered under the Information Technology (IT) Act to carry out interception and analysis of data stored in any computer.

The 10 agencies empowered were Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police commissioner.

The order binds the service providers or any person in charge of the computer resource to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and a failure to do so is penalised with seven-year imprisonment and fine.

Why the order has been challenged?

The reasons cited by the Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma in his PIL are:

  • The notification was illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law.
  • The notification was being issued to restrict the political opponent, thinker and speaker to control the entire country under dictatorship to win coming general election under an undisclosed emergency as well as slavery which cannot be permitted within the Constitution of India.
  • The notification provides for blanket surveillance which must be tested against the fundamental right to privacy.
  • The notification enables the state to access every communication, computer and mobile and to use it to protect the political interest and object of the present executive political party.
  • The notification tries to create a surveillance state.

The government has defended the decision citing national security and claiming that the order was a mere repetition of the rules passed during the UPA regime in 2009.

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Month:  Categories: Governance & Politics
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