Phone tapping provision in Maharashtra anti-terror law upheld

September 1st, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday upheld the legality of the provisions for telephone interception in a Maharashtra law against terrorism and organized crimes and the use of the intercepts as evidence.Upholding the legality of sections 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan also restored the provisions the Bombay High Court had struck down earlier.

The bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice M.K. Sharma, held that a state government was legally empowered to make special laws to combat special organised crimes like extortion, gun-running, money-laundering, terrorism and insurgency - even on subject matters like telephone communication and insurgency, figuring in the Union List.

A state government need not wait for the central government to enact a law to handle a sudden spurt of various organized crimes, it said.

The bench gave its ruling on a lawsuit by the Maharashtra government, challenging the high court ruling striking down the provisions for telephonic talks interception and their use as evidence in a court of law.

The high court had held that the state government was not empowered to make law on a matter related to communication as the subject matter figured in the Union List and only the central government has the power to legislate on matters enumerated in that list.

The Supreme court had reserved its verdict on April 23.

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