Friday, February 18, 2011

Cabinet Committee On Security Must Be Pro Active

Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of India is entrusted with analysing many security related aspects of India. CCS may have been constituted keeping in mind different aspects of internal and external security. However, it is clearly not constituted for projects likes Aadhar/UID, national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), etc.

While in the past CCS has dealt with the issues pertaining to Natgrid, but it is no more taking interest in Natgrid project. It seems CCS is now more interested in imposing Natgrid upon India without much analysis, deliberations and suggestions.

As far as Aadhar project, CCNTS, etc are concerned, CCS has no role to play even if they essentially are part of its roles and responsibilities. CCS is shying away from these controversial projects as there cannot be any justification for their existence and continuance.

Even on the front of cyber security, CCS has not taken any encouraging steps. Neither the cyber law of India not the cyber security of India is in good shape. However, CCS has not realised that securing Indian cyberspace is equally important like securing our boundaries.

Now CCS has considered another crucial and controversial issue by proposing new norms for phone tapping in India. The Committee has proposed a centralised hub on the lines of central monitoring system (CMS) for phone taps.

Once again the CCS failed to consider constitutional safeguards pertaining to same. In the past the CCS has not considered the civil liberty issues of projects like Aadhar, Natgrid, CCTNS, etc. Now even the central monitoring system has been added to this list.

Although CMS be used only if there is a lawful interception law in India yet it seems to have been tested recently without any lawful interception law in India at place. India has no constitutionally sound lawful interception law at present.

CCS has a very crucial role to play as it has to safeguard national security of India. However, it has also to respect constitutional rights and protections. By giving priority to some assumed and fictitious national interest over fundamental rights, it would be shaking the very foundation of our constitution.

CCS must be pro active and it must consider all these issues while taking any decision. Presently, it seems to be taking single sided decisions going in favour of Indian government and private players and against the constitutional aspirations. I hope, CCS would consider all these issues before approving any project like Aadhar, Natgrid, CCTNS, CMS, etc.