Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unconstitutional Phone Tapping Is A Constitutional Failure Of India

Despite what Indian government says there is no doubt that phone tapping in India is done in an unconstitutional manner. From the very beginning Indian government has deliberately retained a model that goes against the very philosophy of Indian constitution.

It deliberately retained the Indian Telegraph act, 1885 that is simply not constitutional and deserves to be struck down by the Supreme Court of India as unconstitutional. However, it has also shown the grim picture of our Parliamentary democracy.

Whether it is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Indian National Congress none have fulfilled their responsibilities in this regard. Now BJP has started shouting upon Congress led government regarding abuse of phone tapping powers but what BJP did to make the Telegraph Act constitutional? Why did not BJP raise the question in Indian Parliament till now?

Leaving the politics aside, I would like to say that there is a complete failure of Parliamentary democracy in India. Noted lawyer Praveen Dalal recently asked a very pertinent question. His question was do we have separation of powers in India anymore? In short, his question pertains to the declining role of Parliamentary democracy in India.

According to Praveen Dalal Indian Parliament is slightly better than a non operational one. It does not conduct any relevant business these days and even if it does not operate at all, not much difference would be there.

This is practically the situation in India as Executive have hijacked all the constitutional powers. While other countries require a judicial review of phone tapping, Indian Executive has been doing this not only without any judicial review but also without any constitutionally sound phone tapping law in this regard.

What is surprising is the fact that Supreme Court has not declared the Telegraph Act as unconstitutional till now. This is the most obvious solutions for the present crisis where Parliament is sleeping, Executive is openly violating constitutional provisions and Judiciary is looking helplessly. In short, incidences like these show that India is heading towards a “constitutional failure”.