The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to frame guidelines for interception of telephone conversations in order to prevent illegal phone tapping by service providers. “The central government must frame certain statutory guidelines in this regard to prevent interception of telephone conversations on unauthorised communication,” a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said.

The bench also said the telecom companies should also take due care and pulled up Reliance Infocom for tapping the telephones of controversial leader Amar Singh on the basis of a forged letter.

“This court is of the opinion that the service provider has to act as a responsible agency and cannot act on any communication,” the court said.

“In view of the public nature of the function of a service provider, it is inherent in its duty to act carefully and with a sense of responsibility. This court is thus constrained to observe that in discharging the said duty, Reliance Infocom has failed,” the court said.

“Sanctity and regularity in official communication in such matters must be maintained, especially when the service provider is taking the serious step of intercepting the telephone conversations of a person and by doing so is invading the privacy right of the person concerned, which is a fundamental right protected under the Constitution, as has been held by this court,” the bench said.

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June 2021