New Delhi: A transparency ruling for Indian citizens has allowed citizens to demand answer from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to find whether their phones are under surveillance.
The Delhi high Court gave the ruling where it held that Trai will now have to furnish information on surveillance or tracking of an applicant’s phone by any agency since it has the legal power to obtain such info from a telecom service provider.
“If a public authority has a right and is entitled to access information from a private body, under any other law, it is ‘information’ as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. Thus, it is an obligation on the public authority to get the information from the private body and furnish the same to the applicant,” said Justice Suresh Kait in the plea filed by lawyer Kabir Shankar Bose.
Trai in its claims have said before the court it does not have power to call information from the private body.
In September, the Central Information Commission (CIC) directed Trai to provide Bose with the information.
But Vodafone, on the other hand, sought exemption from disclosure on the lawyer’s RTI plea, claiming itself to be a private organisation and not a ‘public authority’ as defined under the RTI Act.
To this the HC said that ‘information includes in its ambit the information relating to any private body, which can be assessed by public authority under any law for the time being in force’ and should be thus given to the applicant if sought for.