SC slams govt, RCom over Amar phone tapping

Last Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 20:17

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday
slammed the Government for not cancelling the licence of
Reliance Infocomm for illegally tapping the telephone of
politician Amar Singh on the basis of forged orders.



"Why didn`t you cancel the licence of the service
provider. It`s gross negligence. Either service provider was
doing deliberately or because of its incompetence on the basis
of a letter full of errors.
"There were gross errors in the letter on which the
interception was done. Government should have cancelled the
licence of the service provider per se," a bench comprising
Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said.



Reliance Infocomm company has been with the group
headed by Anil Ambani after the split between the Ambani
brothers in July, 2005.



"That was in 2005, now it is 2011 and service
provider has been allowed to continue with its business. The
government has not taken any action so far. It is a serious
matter and why action has not been taken against the service
provider," the bench said.



The remarks of the bench came as the Reliance Infocomm
had intercepted Singh`s telephone between October 22 and
December 21, 2005 on the basis of two letters of the
"competent authority" which had several grammatical errors
and subsequently it was found that the signatures of officers
were forged.



"The letters were coming from the senior police
officer and Home Secretary, the senior IAS officer. The whole
content should have been examined for public safety. It was
such a serious matter. This type of order has been acted upon
by the service provider. The citizen of this country has no
safety. They are subjected to interception by unscrupulous
service provider," the bench said.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium shared the
concern of the Bench and said these are special powers which
have to be exercised in the most extra-ordinary situation.



However, the Bench said "how can a person act on such
type of letters. How can you allow a service provider to
continue".



“The nation is target of various activities over the
years in various parts of the country. They are masters of
forgery who can prepare such orders and place before service
providers for intercepting phone calls. Is it not their duty
to check with the government authority before intercepting,"
the bench said.



The Bench also said under these circumstances even the
phone number of Army Chief can be intercepted and diverted to
anti-national elements in foreign countries.



"Anybody`s communication can be intercepted by the
unscrupulous service provider. It is extremely dangerous
situation which is happening," the bench observed while
criticising the government for its inaction.



"Can you see where things have gone. It has sunk
so low. Government doesn`t seem to have taken action in a
serious matter. Why Government has not taken any action," the
Bench said adding that "All of you are in league and the court
is the soft target".



The Bench said the service provider should have
carefully gone into the order of requisition for intercepting
the communication as doubts would have emerged instantly when
there were "gross grammatical" errors.



The court was hearing the petition filed by the former
Samajwadi leader who had sought judicial inquiry into the
illegal tapping of his telephone allegedly at the behest of
his political rivals including the Congress Party.



PTI



First Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 20:17

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