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SC issues notice to Centre regarding a PIL filed for seeking guidelines on various powers exercised by Police

The Apex Court issued a notice to the Union of India in order to get its response in a PIL which had been filed for seeking directions on law enforcement agencies and various investigative agencies which work under the control of Centre and State government.

The PIL sought for specific directions regarding power of seizure, examination and preservation of one’s personal digital and electronic devices, including its contents.

The bench, however, issued notice only to Union of India. The bench stated that it depends on Union of India’s response whether the notice should be issued to other States and Union Territories or not.

The instant PIL has been filed by five applicants who belong to varied professions. They’ve focused on the academic freedom, which is a part of Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a). The applicants’ plea also focuses upon Article 19(1)(g) which talks about freedom of profession and occupation.

The plea also discusses about the right to privacy, right against self-incrimination, protection of the right to privileged communication, along with the right of accused to retrieve back the seized material after the investigation.

The suggestive guidelines are inclusive of taking Magistrate’s permission before using the personal digital and electronic device of the accused. The guidelines also include handwritten reasons in case of urgent seizure of the device and placing the reasons before the rightful owner.

The petition also pleads the States to lay down directions in order to curb abuse of interference in furtherance of peaceful exercise of respective individual’s fundamental rights.

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