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Interception order in national interest, law formed by UPA: BJP

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The BJP on Friday made a strong defence of the government's move to authorise 10 central agencies to intercept any information on computers, saying there can be no compromise with national security, and dubbed the opposition's criticism a text book case of speaking without any homework.

Amid an all out attack by the Congress-led opposition, which panned the decision as unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government move is legal and their comments amounted to playing with national security.

Prasad told reporters that the IT Act, which has provisions for such an interception, was brought by the Congress-led UPA dispensation, and the latest order has only made it more accountable by naming designated agencies which can carry out such an interception.

"The UPA had enacted the law. We have made it accountable," he said.

Responding to privacy concerns, he told reporters that the government will protect privacy but there can be no compromise with national security.

Each case of interception has to be approved by the home security, he said, claiming that a large number of unauthorised interception also took place earlier and that the new order will stop it.

Prasad spoke about attempts of Inter Service Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency, to spread radical Islam in India and terrorist group Islamic State trying to recruit gullible Indians using internet, and stressed on the need to stop them.

"The Congress should answer as to whether terrorism is a threat to the country or not," he asked.

In a swipe at the Congress, he said the party and its president Rahul Gandhi have a tendency to speak without any homework and their criticism of the government's decision is a textbook case of this.

The decision to intercept anybody's computer can be invoked only in matters of national integrity and security, public order and friendly relations with other countries, he said.

The earlier mechanism was not defined and it has now been made robust and accountable, the law minister claimed.

The government order authorises 10 central agencies, including Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to intercept, monitor, and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 21 2018. 18:30 IST