The Kerala government has introduced a draft bill that will enable the State police to snoop on anyone without prior approval from competent authorities, reported The Hindu.
In a bid to ‘curb organised crimes’, the Pinarayi Vijayan government has prepared the draft legislation of Kerala Control of Organised Crimes Act. The bill empowers police officers, equal or above the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to direct snooping of any communication (wire, oral or electronic) after receiving an application from an investigating officer. Such an application must be submitted within 48 hours of interception of ‘organised crime’ and contain names of the investigating/supervising officers, the identity of the suspects, nature and location where the ‘snooping’ has to be carried out.
One of the criteria to permit such snooping is that the police official (ADGP or above its rank) must ‘reasonably determine’ its need in the face of an emergency situation, threatening the security of the State. However, the interception process will cease immediately if the order for the same is not approved or the application gets rejected. In such a case, the collected information should be destroyed and the interception process would be discontinued.
Final draft bill to be reviewed by panel led by Kerala Chief Secretary
Such an order by the ‘competent authority’ if approved will be reviewed by a panel led by the State Chief Secretary within a period of 10 days. Moreover, the draft bill made it clear that the ‘collected evidence’ would be admissible against the suspect in the particular case of organised crime. “The contents of the intercepted communication shall be, if possible, recorded on tape or wire or other comparable devices. The recording shall be protected from editing or other alterations,” The Hindu quoted the draft legislation. The final draft bill will be reviewed by a panel led by the Kerala Chief Secretary on Friday (September 10).