SC not satisfied with govt’s affidavit on plea for guidelines on seizure of personal digital devices


India

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Updated: Friday, August 5, 2022, 20:58 [IST]

Google One India News

New
Delhi,
Aug
05:

The
Supreme
Court
on
Friday
said
it
is
not
satisfied
with
the
Centre’s
affidavit
filed
on
a
plea
seeking
suitable
guidelines
for
the
investigative
agencies
with
respect
to
seizure,
examination
and
preservation
of
personal
digital
and
electronic
devices
and
their
content.

A
bench
of
Justices
S
K
Kaul
and
M
M
Sundresh
observed
that
electronic
devices
contain
personal
information
and
content
which
need
to
be
protected.
“Today,
people
live
on
this,”
the
bench
orally
observed.

SC not satisfied with govts affidavit on plea for guidelines on seizure of personal digital devices

The
apex
court
told
Additional
Solicitor
General
(ASG)
S
V
Raju,
appearing
for
the
Centre,
to
ensure
that
proper
material,
including
about
international
practices
on
the
issue,
are
placed
on
record.
The
ASG
told
the
bench
he
will
file
a
detailed
affidavit
and
requested
for
six
weeks’ time.

“You
will
have
to
go
through
the
material
and
then
decide.
We
are
not
satisfied
with
the
counter
affidavit
filed,”
the
bench
said
and
posted
the
matter
for
further
hearing
on
September
26.
The
top
court
had
in
March
last
year
issued
notice
to
the
Centre
on
the
plea,
filed
by
five
academicians,
which
sought
guidelines
with
regard
to
seizure,
examination
and
preservation
of
personal
electronic
devices
and
their
content.

The
court
had
said
in
its
order
of
March
last
year
at
that
stage
it
may
be
sufficient
to
issue
notice
to
the
Union
of
India
and
get
its
response
before
considering
whether
notices
are
required
to
be
issued
to
other
states.
During
the
hearing
on
Friday,
the
ASG
said
states
may
be
asked
to
file
their
affidavits.
“We
first
wanted
your
stand,”
the
bench
observed,
adding,
“The
reason
we
did
not
issue
notice
to
the
states
was
that
20
states
will
come
and
20
things
will
happen.”

The
plea
said
the
power
of
search
and
seizure
concerns
rights,
such
as
right
to
privacy,
and
adequate
safeguards
should
be
there.

“Today,
there
are
no
specific
and
binding
norms
to
guide
the
exercise
of
such
power.
Electronic
data
and
devices
are
a
class
apart
from
any
other
physical
object
or
thing.
They
contain
an
entire
professional
and
personal
world,
most
of
which
is
no
concern
of
any
investigation.
Data
is
amenable
to
easy
change
and
to
remote
tampering,”
the
plea
said.

The
petition
claimed
the
“entirely
unguided
power”
exercised
by
the
investigative
agencies
to
take
control
of
personal
digital
devices
that
contain
much,
if
not
all,
of
a
citizen’s
personal
and
professional
life,
requires
to
be
civilised
by
way
of
directives
from
the
apex
court.
It
sought
a
court’s
directive
to
ensure
the
search
and
seizure
of
digital
devices
by
the
investigative
agencies
are
by
a
procedure
that
safeguards
right
to
privacy,
right
against
self-incrimination,
confidentiality
of
professional
work
among
others.



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