press trust of india
NEW DELHI, 25 JUNE: The Supreme Court today said it cannot pass any order against the US government and its agencies for snooping on Internet data from India as it has no jurisdiction over them.
“Our jurisdiction is not over the entire world. American people and government is not covered under Article 21,” a Bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi said.
The Bench, however, said it would hear the PIL seeking to initiate action against Internet companies for allowing the foreign agency to access information if the petitioner convinced the court that Fundamental Rights of the people have been violated.
It asked the petitioner, a former Dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University, Professor S N Singh, to come prepared on the aspect of violation of Fundamental Rights on 28 June when his PIL will be taken up.
In his plea, Prof. Singh has alleged that such large scale spying by the US authorities is detrimental to national security and urged the apex court to intervene in the matter.
He claimed Internet companies were sharing information with the foreign authority in “breach” of contract and violation of right to privacy.
“As per reports, nine US-based Internet companies operating in India through agreements signed with Indian users, shared 6.3 billion information/data with National Security Agency of USA without express consent of Indian users.
“Such large scale spying by the US authorities besides being against the privacy norms is also detrimental to national security,” the petition, filed through advocate Virag Gupta, said.
Prof. Singh has submitted that it is a breach of national security as the government’s official communications have come under US surveillance as services of private Internet firms are being used by them.