SC dismisses PIL on US snooping, says remedy lies before other forum

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 27 June 2013, 05:46 PM

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL seeking direction to the government to initiate action against Internet companies involved in sharing Internet data from India with US' National Security Agency.

The apex court said it cannot entertain the petition as Indian agency is not involved in it and allowed the petitioner, former dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University S N Singh, to move any other forum for seeking remedy against Internet companies and the US agency for snooping data resulting in violation of right to privacy.

"The petitioner may have right to privacy against foreign companies but this right is not covered under Article 21 of the Constitution. The petitioner can move before any other forum for remedy," a bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi said.

The bench also said that the court cannot direct Parliament to enact law to safeguard privacy of citizens against such snooping.

In his plea, Singh 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 US without express consent of Indian users.

"Such large scale spying by the USA authorities besides being against the privacy norms is also detrimental to national security," the petition, filed through advocate Virag Gupta, said.

The bench, however, was not convinced and said that it cannot pass any order against the US government and its agencies as it has no jurisdiction over them.

First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 05:45 PM

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