Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Intelligence Agencies will remain Secretive - Supreme Court

Feb 24 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Some secrets must remain secret: SC on intel agencies
New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL, which demanded more accountability and transparency in the functioning of intelligence agencies like the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), saying “they are bound to have secrets“, which courts could not scrutinise.A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said judicial scrutiny of their functioning might “create a dent“ in the country's security and rejected the plea to bring intelligence agencies within the purview of the controller and auditor general (CAG) so that their expenditure could be audited. It said intelligence agencies played an important role at a time when the country was facing threats from within and outside and their functioning could not be reviewed by courts. “The issue of intelligence is something different.It relates to security of the country and I don't think courts should interfere in such issues,“ the bench said.
The court was examining a PIL filed by NGO `Centre for Public Interest Litigation' seeking to bring intelligence agencies within the control of Parliament so that their operations and expenditure could be budgeted and debated by MPs.
The NGO's counsel Prashant Bhushan said since inception, these agencies operated under executive orders without any parliamentary control or oversight. This had resulted in misuse of funds and corruption in these organizations, he claimed. He also alleged that overwhelming executive control had led to ruling parties misusing the agencies for political purposes and pleaded that these must be made accountable to Parliament or a democratic institution.“This is a serious anomaly in the nation's polity and democratic ideals, which needs to be removed. Allowing these intelligence agencies to function without any accountability is clearly arbitrary and hence, in violation of Article 14,“ Bhushan said.

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