Phone tapping allowed only in case of public emergency: Bombay HC

October 23, 2019

While granting relief to a 54-year-old Mumbai based businessman, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday has quashed three orders passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs allowing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to tap phone calls of the businessman in a bribery case that involved an official of a public sector bank. The Court has also ordered the CBI to destroy the copies of the call recordings.

In the present case, the CBI had accused the businessman of giving a bribe of Rs. 10 Lakh to the bank official for credit-related favours in lieu of which the Ministry of Home Affairs had allowed interception of calls. Thereafter, an FIR was registered against the businessman by the CBI.

The businessman opposed the said order of the Ministry contending that the action exceeds the authority provided under section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and has been taken in violation of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

The lawyer appearing for the businessman argued that the intercepted call recordings contained the charge sheet and all the call recordings collected illegally shall be denied validity. In furtherance to this, the lawyer had stated that according to the Indian Telegraph Act such call recordings can only take place in case of any public emergency or to maintain public safety.

The Court, while upholding the contention of the businessman, has quashed the said orders and has stated that “unless a public emergency has occurred or the interest of public safety demands, the authorities have no jurisdiction to exercise the powers under the said section.”


Latest Legal News

Imposition of Section 144: The much needed step amid Coronavirus crisis
Dos and Don'ts during the March 22 Janata Curfew
PM calls for Janata Curfew on 22 March, urges people to maintain social-distancing
maternity leave
Maternity benefit not allowed in case of 2nd delivery of 3rd child, after twins in 1st delivery
Life Sentence awarded to Retd Army Doc for chopping his wife into 300 pieces
Fan movie poster
Excluding Song shown in Trailer from Movie is Unfair Trade Practice: YRF directed to pay compensation