Supreme Court Current Affairs
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The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central government on PIL which questioned the notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.
What was the notification?
Under the notification, the central government had empowered 10 agencies, 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 to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.
PIL challenges the Notification
The notification is challenged on the following grounds:
- The notification was illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires to the law.
- The notification gives State the right 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 was an attempt to create a surveillance state.
The PIL also sought to prohibit the agencies from initiating any criminal proceedings, enquiry or investigation against anybody under the provisions of the IT Act based on the notification. The Supreme Court issuing a notice to the central government and has asked to respond in six weeks.
Tags: Central Bureau of Investigation • Delhi Police commissioner • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence • Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K North East and Assam) • Enforcement Directorate • Intelligence Bureau • Narcotics Control Bureau • National Investigation Agency • Snooping • Supreme Court • surveillance state • the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department) • the Research and Analysis Wing
A not for profit organisation Youth for Equality has questioned the constitutional validity of the 103rd constitutional amendment act which provides for 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections.
Why the 103rd constitutional amendment act is questioned in Supreme Court?
Youth for Equality has questioned the constitutional validity of the 103rd constitutional act based on the following reasons:
- The amendment which inserts Articles 15(6) and 16(6) in the Constitution would alter the basic structure of the Constitution and annul various binding judgments of the Supreme Court.
- The amendments fail to consider that Articles 14 and 16 form the basic feature of equality. The amendment act violates restraints that were imposed on the reservation policy, i.e. the 50% ceiling limit and the exclusion of economic status as a sole criterion.
- The 103rd constitutional amendment act shows complete disregard for the Supreme Court’s nine-judge bench judgment in Indira Sawhney (Mandal) case which held that the sole economic criteria could not be a basis for reservation and that the 50% ceiling limit ought not to be crossed.
- The petition also cites the judgment in the case of M Nagraj vs Union of India which had upheld the constitutional validity of Art 16(4A), 16(4B), subject to certain conditions like undertaking proper exercises by the State to show that there was inadequacy in the representation.
- The expression economically weaker section remained undefined by the amendment and was left to be notified by the state.
- It is unclear whether the central government and state governments can both define the expression separately, but they both may define it differently. This level of untrammelled vagueness makes the insertion arbitrary and unworkable.
The bill was introduced in the parliament at haste just months ahead of the 2019 general election. Even this put the intention of the government in question.
Tags: 103rd constitutional act • Article 156 • Article 16(6) • basic structure of the Constitution • Economically weaker sections • Indira Sawhney case • M Nagraj vs Union of India • Mandal case • Supreme Court • Youth for Equality