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SC ask telephone cos to address illegal tapping

March 20, 2006 19:58 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the telecom companies to make clear whether they tapped telephones on private request without adhering to the laid guidelines and steps taken by them to prevent illegal tapping.

Maintaining that there have been some cases where service providers have tapped the telephone on private request, the court asked the companies to address the issues of illegal interception.

"The question under consideration is strict procedure to be followed for interception of telephone and further guidelines or changes in the law (Indian Telegraph Act, 1885) with respect to changed scenario of technology.

"And the second question is whether illegal interception, if any, by telecom companies or their officials with or without following the procedure and step taken to prevent such practice," a Bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justcie A R Lakshmana and Justice C K Thakker said. The Bench asked the telecom companies to file within three weeks affidavit addressing these issues while taking into consideration the suggestions put forward by the Centre.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh seeking framing of guidelines to check illegal tapping of telephones.

Solicitor General G E Vahanvati submitted that decision has been taken to have comprehensive look into the Indian Telegraph Act and larger issues need to be addressed keeping in view the changed scenario resulting due to technological development and more players coming into the field.

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