A PIL was filed in the high court of Andhra Pradesh alleging that an attempt is being made for tapping the phone calls of the judges of the honourable High Court.
Brief facts of the case
The petitioner Nimmi Grace, filed a PIL alleging tapping of calls of a host of VVIPs including some members of the judiciary. The Government chief secretary, home secretary and the director-general of the police were made the respondents. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Jitnedra Kumar and Justice D Ramesh issued notice to the state and also asked the petitioner to file an additional affidavit with the PIL. The controversy was triggered by a report published by Telugu Daily Andhra Jyoti.
Arguments of the parties
The counsel of petitioner Ms Grace, contended that with the orders passed by the court and connivance of the government the tapping of phones was planned to malign the institution.
The petition further stated that this act of the DGP and the state are in contravention to section 5(2) of the telegraph act 1885. It was stated that this act is also in contravention to the mandate laid by the Apex court in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India. The petition stated that the alleged action of tapping phone calls is against the fundamental rights mentioned in article 14, 16, 19 and 21 of the constitution. The petitioner stated that it is not only a serious offence but also a threat to the judiciary.
The counsel on behalf of the state and that of the DGP and principal secretary (home) have stated that these allegations fabricated and hold no merit. The government advocate Suman appearing for the DGP said it is important to make the media house also a party.
Remedies sought by the petitioner
The PIL seeks directions to CBI, TRAI and telecom providers to not allow any phone tapping requests from the government agencies. The only allowance of any such surveillance must be in accordance with the procedure established by the apex court. The petition further seeks an independent time bound investigation by the SIT with the CBI to surface the truth of the allegations. The petitioner has further sought extensive and comprehensive guidelines for any such tapping and surveillance along with the accountability of the officials responsible.
The Court has issued notice to the CBI, the centre, the state government, CVC and TRAI. The court has sought to know if the respondents have an objection to probe on allegations that phone of VVIPs including judges were tapped.
The matter is posted to August 27, 2020 for hearing.
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