All­round op­po­si­tion

FrontLine - - COVER STORY - BY T.K. RAJALAKSHMI

THE UNION HOME MIN­ISTRY’S DE­CEM­BER 20 or­der drew sharp re­ac­tions from the po­lit­i­cal com­mu­nity, cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­perts and ad­vo­cates of In­ter­net free­dom against what they per­ceived as an at­tempt at mass sur­veil­lance. They felt that it pro­vided a “le­gal ba­sis” for non-con­sen­sual ac­cess to data un­der the garb of na­tional se­cu­rity. The is­sue gained trac­tion as the op­po­si­tion came down heav­ily on the gov­ern­ment at the win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment.

On De­cem­ber 21, the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary So­cial­ist Party mem­ber N.K. Premachan­dran raised the is­sue in the Lok Sabha, and Anand Sharma of the Congress took it up in the Ra­jya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, while mem­bers such as P.K. Biju of the Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (CPI) as­so­ci­ated them­selves with the ques­tion, not much dis­cus­sion took place as the mat­ter came up al­most to­wards the end of the day’s pro­ceed­ings. The is­sue was raised by po­lit­i­cal par­ties out­side Par­lia­ment in the form of press brief­ings and com­ments on so­cial me­dia. Lead­ers be­long­ing to the Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar), the Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (Marx­ist), the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (S.P.), the Tri­namool Congress and the

Op­po­si­tion par­ties and cy­ber­se­cu­rity spe­cial­ists raise con­cerns about the pos­si­bil­ity of gross mis­use of data, es­pe­cially for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.

All In­dia Ma­jlis-e-it­te­hadul Mus­limeen (AIMIM) crit­i­cised the no­ti­fi­ca­tion while the al­lies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the rul­ing Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) main­tained a stu­dious si­lence.

De­fend­ing the no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley told the op­po­si­tion benches, par­tic­u­larly the Congress: “Your gov­ern­ment has used it in the past. Our gov­ern­ments have also used it. Every gov­ern­ment has used it. The same agen­cies had the power ear­lier. In 2009, rules were framed, which au­tho­rised the same agen­cies to in­ter­cept any­body who played with na­tional se­cu­rity, pub­lic or­der and in­tegrity of In­dia.” The Min­istry of Home Af­fairs clar­i­fied that the no­ti­fi­ca­tion did not “con­fer any new pow­ers”, that “every in­di­vid­ual case will con­tinue to re­quire prior ap­proval” of the Min­istry (Home) and the State gov­ern­ment, that “ad­e­quate safe­guards” were pro­vided in the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) Act, 2000, and that sim­i­lar pro­vi­sions and iden­ti­cal safe­guards ex­isted in the In­dian Tele­graph Act. The Min­istry also spelled out that it had not del­e­gated its pow­ers to any law en­force­ment or se­cu­rity agency.

The list­ing of 10 agen­cies, crit­ics said, was un­nec­es­sary if pow­ers had not been del­e­gated and the agen­cies had not been granted un­fet­tered ac­cess to ser­vice providers and in­ter­me­di­aries. Ghu­lam Nabi Azad, the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Ra­jya Sabha, said the or­der did not men­tion “na­tional se­cu­rity” any­where. He said now any­body’s data could be in­ter­cepted at will and that there was an “un­de­clared emer­gency”. For­mer Home Min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram, un­der whose watch the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (Pro­ce­dure and Safe­guards for In­ter­cep­tion, Mon­i­tor­ing and De­cryp­tion of In­for­ma­tion) Rules, 2009, were drafted, de­scribed the or­der as “Or­wellian”, while S.P. leader Ram Gopal Ya­dav cau­tioned the rul­ing party against “dig­ging” a pit for it­self, es­pe­cially as the or­der would be in­valid in four months with a change of gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre.

Si­taram Yechury, CPI(M) gen­eral sec­re­tary, said in his Twit­ter han­dle: “Why is every In­dian be­ing treated like a crim­i­nal? This or­der by a govt want­ing to snoop on every cit­i­zen is un­con­sti­tu­tional and in breach of the tele­phone tap­ping guide­lines, the pri­vacy judg­ment and the aad­haar judg­ment.” West Ben­gal Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Baner­jee called it “dan­ger­ous” while Delhi Chief Min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal de­scribed it as an “un­de­clared emer­gency”. Asadud­din Owaisi, AIMIM chief and Lok Sabha MP, tweeted: “Who knew this is what they meant when they said ‘ghar ghar Modi’.”

On De­cem­ber 24, the Union Min­istry of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy is­sued the draft rules amend­ing Sec­tion 79 of the IT Act, which deals with ex­emp­tions from li­a­bil­i­ties of in­ter­me­di­aries, and in­vited com­ments on it from all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers. The com­ments are to be sent by Jan­uary 15, 2019. This ap­peared as a knee-jerk re­ac­tion to the op­po­si­tion’s sharp re­sponses to the De­cem­ber 20 or­der and in ef­fect ap­peared to pro­vide a frame­work to jus­tify the Home Min­istry or­der. Sec­tion 79 of the IT Act had a pro­viso to ex­empt in­ter­me­di­aries from li­a­bil­ity in cer­tain cases. In 2011, the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (In­ter­me­di­aries Guide­lines) Rules were no­ti­fied un­der Sec­tion 79 (2) (c), which stip­u­lates that in­ter­me­di­aries “must ob­serve due dili­gence while dis­charg­ing their du­ties, and also ob­serve such other guide­lines as pre­scribed by the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment”.

While sta­tus quo could have pre­vailed as far as the 2009 rules and the 2011 guide­lines were con­cerned, the Elec­tron­ics & IT Min­istry went a step fur­ther and amended the rules on the grounds that it was nec­es­sary to reg­u­late so­cial me­dia plat­forms to pre­vent mis­use and spread of fake news. It re­ferred to a call­ing at­ten­tion mo­tion on the sub­ject, in the Ra­jya Sabha on July 26, 2018, of “mis­use of so­cial me­dia plat­forms and spread­ing of fake news”, which was ad­mit­ted in the mon­soon ses­sion. In his re­ply the Min­is­ter for Elec­tron­ics and IT as­sured Par­lia­ment of the gov­ern­ment’s re­solve to strengthen the le­gal frame­work and to make so­cial me­dia plat­forms ac­count­able un­der the law. It needs to be men­tioned here that so­cial me­dia has been re­peat­edly used to spread com­mu­nal dishar­mony; spawn hate crimes, in­clud­ing lynching; and lam­poon po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents but the gov­ern­ment had not re­acted to these.

The draft IT (In­ter­me­di­aries Guide­lines (Amend­ment) Rules) has been put up for dis­cus­sion.

At a sep­a­rate press con­fer­ence, Congress spokesper­son and Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the gov­ern­ment and large on­line plat­forms were “pri­vately dis­cussing” how to cen­sor and break en­cryp­tion of pri­vate data, so­cial me­dia posts, emails, mes­sages and calls. He pointed that the rules framed in 2011 pro­vided on­line plat­forms and In­ter­net ser­vice providers (ISPS) with im­mu­nity for con­tent that was trans­mit­ted and pub­lished by end users, al­low­ing the “con­duits of in­for­ma­tion to fa­cil­i­tate a core func­tion of free ex­pres­sion”. The draft rules, he said, would “legally end this im­mu­nity”, which may lead to “gross mis­use of data..., es­pe­cially for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses”.

In a state­ment call­ing for the re­scind­ing of the or­der, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau de­scribed it as a “brazen at­tack on the fun­da­men­tal right to pri­vacy given to every cit­i­zen by our Con­sti­tu­tion”. It pointed out that “the track record of this gov­ern­ment in ha­rass­ing and per­se­cut­ing cit­i­zens who do not share the Rashtriya Swayam­se­wak Sangh/ BJP view­point is there for ev­ery­one to see. In­di­vid­u­als have been picked up for so­cial me­dia posts that are seen as be­ing in­im­i­cal to their im­age.”

OPEN IN­TIM­I­DA­TION

D. Raja, CPI mem­ber of the Ra­jya Sabha, told Front­line that the or­der was an­other ex­am­ple of an at­tack on cit­i­zen­ship rights by the NDA gov­ern­ment headed by Naren­dra Modi. “Any­one who ques­tions the po­lice or the pow­ers of the gov­ern­ment is be­ing dubbed as anti-na­tional. There is a con­text to this. What­ever was there in the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Act was al­ready known. Why do they want to spec­ify it fur­ther is the ques­tion? Now I can­not speak freely to my close fam­ily mem­bers or friends with­out be­ing ap­pre­hen­sive that I am be­ing tapped and con­ver­sa­tion is be­ing fol­lowed by an agency spec­i­fied in the or­der. It is not good for democ­racy. The or­der is a grave threat to the In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion and democ­racy. What is the ground for in­ter­cept­ing con­ver­sa­tion? The gov­ern­ment it­self is in­dulging in cy­ber­crime,” he said. The gov­ern­ment was cre­at­ing a fear psy­chosis and in­dulging in scare­mon­ger­ing, he said, point­ing out that while at one level, it pre­tended to be demo­cratic at an­other level it was in­dulging in open au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism.

“The [Novem­ber/de­cem­ber As­sem­bly] elec­tion re­sults have clearly rat­tled them. This or­der is a form of open in­tim­i­da­tion. There are many laws in the Con­sti­tu­tion that are hardly be­ing im­ple­mented. The MHA or­der will be op­posed by po­lit­i­cal par­ties as well as all demo­cratic sec­tions of so­ci­ety,” he said.

While some ar­gue that the gov­ern­ment’s pow­ers of sur­veil­lance al­ways ex­isted, for ex­am­ple, the Tele­graph

Act, which also lists out some 10 agen­cies that can mon­i­tor phone calls and re­lated forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the gov­ern­ment has taken the log­i­cal step of list­ing out agen­cies un­der the IT Act to mon­i­tor elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­lated in­for­ma­tion.

Pawan Singh, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert, told Front­line that in­tel­li­gence agen­cies the world over were known to keep “tabs” through var­i­ous covert meth­ods that did not nec­es­sar­ily leave a pa­per trail. “There is no doc­u­ment that spec­i­fies the meth­ods used. But it doesn’t mean it is not tak­ing place,” he said. The pow­ers to in­ter­cept, he said, were al­ways there, es­pe­cially data in tran­sit. It fell un­der the do­main of “law­ful in­ter­cep­tion”. The dif­fer­ence now was that data ly­ing in one’s com­puter was not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the gov­ern­ment. Peo­ple would now be forced to give their pass­words and it could be at will. “No one can deny law en­force­ment agen­cies data, but there have to be very, very spe­cific con­di­tions in which it can be asked for. There can­not be con­tin­ued in­ter­cep­tion. One will have to put in a re­quest to the ser­vice provider. Au­dits of ser­vice providers are also done. These checks al­ready ex­ist. Un­der the new draft rules, any of these 10 agen­cies can walk into my home and make a law­ful seizure of my equip­ment and ask for my pass­word. If I am a sus­pect or even a tar­get of sus­pi­cion, they can ask for the en­cryp­tion data. Where does this leave my right to pri­vacy then? There are nodal agen­cies within ISPS that deal with law en­force­ment agen­cies. The sys­tems are al­ready there,” he said.

Prashant Mali, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity and cy­ber­law ex­pert, told Front­line from Mum­bai that the draft amend­ments and guide­lines could be chal­lenged in court as they pointed to mass sur­veil­lance. “Na­tional se­cu­rity and pub­lic or­der are not de­fined any­where in the draft rules. Un­der the garb of na­tional se­cu­rity, the pri­vacy of cit­i­zens can be eas­ily vi­o­lated. In 2009 [rules], who will de­crypt was not there. It also con­tra­dicts the pri­vacy judg­ment. Blan­ket de­cryp­tion pow­ers were not there and the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties were not de­fined. The present guide­lines point to­wards mass sur­veil­lance,” he said.

There are also fears that the Home Min­istry or­der and the rules un­der Sec­tion 69 do not re­quire any ap­proval by the Union Home Sec­re­tary. The cer­ti­fied agen­cies, it was pointed out, were del­e­gated with the pow­ers to in­ter­cept and de­crypt, and a re­view could only hap­pen if the Home Min­istry willed it.

The ques­tion, some crit­ics say, is whether such blan­ket sur­veil­lance was jus­ti­fied even with the con­sent and au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the Home Sec­re­tary, who in any case would not act with­out the in­struc­tions of the gov­ern­ment in power. That such pow­ers can be mis­used and that there are no safe­guards against a wide swathe of agen­cies au­tho­rised to in­ter­cept, mon­i­tor and de­crypt and even de­mand com­pli­ance by in­ter­me­di­aries are valid con­cerns. Ear­lier, per­mis­sion was re­quired from in­ter­me­di­aries and ser­vice providers; now the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent. Mere au­tho­ri­sa­tion is enough; con­sent is not a part of the process. “In­for­ma­tion need not be asked or req­ui­si­tioned any more. It can be pulled out di­rectly from cell phones with­out the knowl­edge of the user, from all tele­phone ser­vices and dig­i­tal providers as well,” said a cy­ber­law ex­pert. The gov­ern­ment, mean­while, de­fended the process.

Arun Jait­ley wrote in his blog post that “an in­ter­cep­tion or mon­i­tor­ing is only au­tho­rised un­der a spe­cific ap­proval of the Home Sec­re­tary. It can only be in cases which deal with the pur­poses men­tioned un­der Sec­tion 69 of the Act. These are re­stric­tions on which free speech can be cur­tailed un­der Ar­ti­cle 19(2) of the Con­sti­tu­tion.” In­ci­den­tally, he him­self was a vic­tim of unau­tho­rised in­ter­cep­tion of call records by the po­lice when the BJP was in the op­po­si­tion.

NO AC­COUNT­ABIL­ITY

There are other con­cerns as well. One is the tim­ing of the or­der and, two, the non-statu­tory na­ture of the agen­cies, which es­sen­tially means that they are ac­count­able only to the ex­ec­u­tive and not to Par­lia­ment.

Pranesh Prakash, Fel­low with the Cen­tre for In­ter­net and So­ci­ety and an af­fil­i­ated Fel­low with the Yale Law School In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety Project, told Front­line that Rule 4 did not su­per­sede Rule 3, which stip­u­lates that in or­der for in­ter­cep­tion and mon­i­tor­ing to be valid prior ap­proval of the Home Sec­re­tary is re­quired. But the is­sue went be­yond seek­ing per­mis­sion of the Home Sec­re­tary. He said there were al­ready mul­ti­ple agen­cies that en­able “le­gal in­ter­cep­tion” as pro­vided for in Sec­tion 69 and Sec­tion 69 (b) of the IT Act, in the Tele­graph Act and in the Ma­ha­rash­tra Con­trol of Or­gan­ised Crime Act. In the Code for Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, he said, Sec­tion 92 al­lowed for in­spec­tion of call records. The Cen­tre for In­ter­net and So­ci­ety, he said, had ex­pressed con­cerns when the IT (Pro­ce­dure and Safe­guards for In­ter­cep­tion, Mon­i­tor­ing and De­cryp­tion of In­for­ma­tion) Rules were drafted, ar­gu­ing that they were con­sti­tu­tion­ally in­firm on mul­ti­ple grounds, in­clud­ing Ar­ti­cle 19 (1)A and Ar­ti­cle 21. Prakash has main­tained in ear­lier posts that the bar for in­ter­cep­tion has been set far lower in the IT Act than in colo­nial leg­is­la­tion.

“After the K.S. Put­tuswamy judg­ment, our con­vic­tion that the par­ent pro­vi­sion, Sec­tion 69, was con­sti­tu­tion­ally in­firm was fur­ther af­firmed,” he said. There were, he said, three sets of prob­lems with the re­cent no­ti­fi­ca­tion. First, that the listed agen­cies were not con­sti­tuted un­der any statute of Par­lia­ment but were con­sti­tuted by an ex­ec­u­tive or­der. This, he said, meant that they were es­sen­tially not ac­count­able to Par­lia­ment. Sec­ond, in a mat­ter con­cern­ing the Tele­graph Act, the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 (Hukum Chand Shyam Lal vs Union of In­dia) that an eco­nomic emer­gency did not con­sti­tute a pub­lic emer­gency. In that par­tic­u­lar case, the tele­phones of ap­pel­lants were dis­con­nected on the charge that il­le­gal for­ward trad­ing in agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties was be­ing prac­tised.

The IT Act, Prakash said, had widened the scope of en­cryp­tion, which was con­trary to the 1976 judg­ment. He also said that by spec­i­fy­ing the agen­cies, the gov­ern­ment had more or less ad­mit­ted that the sur­veil­lance un­der-

taken by such agen­cies un­til now was il­le­gal. “Can it be pre­sumed that un­til such time as the gov­ern­ment in­tro­duces rules au­tho­ris­ing sur­veil­lance, all such mon­i­tor­ing and sur­veil­lance is il­le­gal?” he asked. In every democ­racy, he said, these agen­cies ought to be ac­count­able to Par­lia­ment.

In 2011, Man­ish Te­wari, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Min­is­ter in the United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance (UPA) gov­ern­ment, in­tro­duced a pri­vate mem­ber’s Bill ti­tled In­tel­li­gence Ser­vices (Pow­ers and Reg­u­la­tion) Bill that had sought to put lim­its on ac­tions of the In­tel­li­gence Bureau (I.B.), the Re­search and Anal­y­sis Wing and the Na­tional Tech­ni­cal Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion that could “fur­ther the in­ter­est of any po­lit­i­cal party or coali­tion”. The Bill also pro­vided for a des­ig­nated au­thor­ity to is­sue war­rants for cer­tain ac­tions, such as in­ter­cept­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions and covert op­er­a­tions of the I.B. The agen­cies were re­quired to give a bian­nual re­port to the Prime Min­is­ter, which would be placed in Par­lia­ment.

“It is sur­pris­ing that none raised con­cerns, not even Amar Singh and Arun Jaitely, both of whom had com­plained that their phones were un­der sur­veil­lance then. Even a gov­ern­ment was brought down on the charge of phone tap­ping,” said Prakash.

Third, it was an is­sue of “pro­por­tion­al­ity” where the pun­ish­ment pro­vided for in­fringe­ment of the Act and rules was far greater than the pun­ish­ment for vi­o­lat­ing the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act. The ques­tion of pro­por­tion­al­ity had not been ad­dressed suf­fi­ciently, he said, es­pe­cially in the con­text of the judg­ments on pri­vacy and Aad­haar. “The IT Act and the present rules should be amended by ju­di­cial scru­tiny [to act] as a check on ex­ec­u­tive power. Even when it comes to per­sonal data, there ought to be ex­emp­tions as nar­row as pos­si­ble for in­tel­li­gence agen­cies so as to not pro­vide them a carte blanche,” he said.

CLOCK TURNED BACK

Y. Ki­ran Chan­dra, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Free Soft­ware Move­ment of In­dia, told Front­line that the no­ti­fi­ca­tion marked a fresh as­sault on the pri­vacy of cit­i­zens and was an­other step in the di­rec­tion of cre­at­ing a sur­veil­lance state. He said the move needed to be seen in the con­text of gov­ern­ments across the world tar­get­ing en­cryp­tion, which is the ba­sis of se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tion. “The no­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­vides more ground for the gov­ern­ment to pres­sure dig­i­tal ser­vice providers and de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­vide en­cryp­tion keys and back doors. This process also re­mains en­tirely un­der the con­trol of the ex­ec­u­tive

The or­der raises con­cerns. One is its tim­ing and, two, the non­statu­tory na­ture of the agen­cies named in it.

branch, said.

Chan­dra said the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment that the no­ti­fi­ca­tion was merely built on past le­gal pro­vi­sions was not sus­tain­able. Ever since it was framed, the Cen­tral Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem has come into be­ing, ex­pand­ing the gov­ern­ment’s sur­veil­lance pow­ers and en­abling it to tap the in­fra­struc­ture of tele­com firms. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion is based on a le­gal frame­work, ac­cord­ing to which the Home Sec­re­tary signs off on re­quests for sur­veil­lance. Right to In­for­ma­tion en­quiries have re­vealed that the Home Sec­re­tary ap­proves thou­sands of re­quests each month. Im­por­tant Supreme Court ver­dicts in this decade on Sec­tion 66A of the IT Act, pri­vacy and Aad­haar have strength­ened the frame­work of pri­vacy and dig­i­tal rights. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion ig­nores all this and turns the clock back on pri­vacy and dig­i­tal rights.

He said the draft IT (In­ter­me­di­ary Guide­lines) Rules needed to be seen along with the no­ti­fi­ca­tion. “In­ter­me­di­aries are re­quired to proac­tively iden­tify and re­move con­tent. This com­pro­mises the very essence of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and, yet again, tar­gets en­cryp­tion. It seems like this is a gov­ern­ment bid to har­ness the power of big tech firms to tar­get dis­sent­ing voices,” he said. He pointed out that the pri­vacy judg­ment laid down three tests for any in­tru­sion into the pri­vacy of in­di­vid­u­als: le­gal­ity, fair­ness and pro­por­tion­al­ity. Sim­i­larly, the Aad­haar judg­ment talked about the need for ju­di­cial mon­i­tor­ing. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion sweeps all this aside.

“It is true that the UPA gov­ern­ment passed the leg­is­la­tion, sec­tions of which were struck down be­cause they were un­con­sti­tu­tional. The UPA de­fended clauses such as Sec­tion 66A. The NDA gov­ern­ment is go­ing ahead with ex­ec­u­tive orders, re­duc­ing the spirit of the Supreme Court judg­ment on is­sues such as pri­vacy and Sec­tion 66A. Both the UPA and the NDA are on the same page on the is­sue of sur­veil­lance; they merely crit­i­cise while in the op­po­si­tion,” he said.

The In­ter­net Free­dom Foun­da­tion, an ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion work­ing on the rights of free and open In­ter­net and on­line free­dom, has also pointed out se­ri­ous in­fir­mi­ties with cer­tain clauses of the amended draft rules like the one that pro­vides for break­ing en­cryp­tion. Clause 5 in the amended rules states that “the in­ter­me­di­ary shall en­able trac­ing out of such orig­i­na­tor of in­for­ma­tion on its plat­form as may be re­quired by gov­ern­ment agen­cies who are legally au­tho­rised” in con­di­tions where the se­cu­rity of the state, cy­ber­se­cu­rity or in­ves­ti­ga­tion or de­tec­tion or pros­e­cu­tion or pre­ven­tion of of­fences are con­cerned.

No one has an is­sue with a na­tion’s sovereign right to take mea­sures to safe­guard its in­ter­nal se­cu­rity. The prob­lem is more with the route and the rhetoric adopted. The prob­lem also lies with the pos­si­bil­ity of mis­use of the law and of mass vi­o­la­tions of per­sonal data on the pre­text of na­tional se­cu­rity. But more im­por­tantly, it is the be­lief in the as­sumed su­pe­ri­or­ity of the ex­ec­u­tive over Par­lia­ment that is most wor­ri­some in the en­tire con­tro­versy, more so in the era of hy­per­na­tion­al­ism.

with no ju­di­cial or par­lia­men­tary over­sight,” he

A PROTEST NEAR the Tel­ugu De­sam Party of­fice in Visakha­p­at­nam against the Cen­tre’s De­cem­ber 20 no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

CONGRESS MP GHU­LAM Nabi Azad ad­dresses me­di­a­per­sons out­side Par­lia­ment build­ing in New Delhi on De­cem­ber 17. Congress lead­ers Kapil Sibal, Ah­mad Pa­tel and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and CPI leader D. Raja are also seen. Azad said the Home Min­istry or­der did not men­tion na­tional se­cu­rity any­where. Raja said the or­der “is a grave threat to the In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion and democ­racy”.

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