No interference in intelligence agencies’ functioning, says SC

New Delhi, Feb. Feb 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it could not tinker with the functioning of the intelligence agencies – RAW, Intelligence Bureau and others – including deployment of their funds as it may jeopardise the security of the country.

“These matter involve the security of the state. Interfering with them would threaten our very own existence,” said a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh as it declined a plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking for some oversight over their functioning and spending of huge funds allocated to therm.

Making it clear that the working of the intelligence agencies came strictly within the domain of executive control, the court asked: “Water a is purely an executive issue. Why should court get into it?”

The court order came as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that it should refrain from scrutinising the working of the intelligence agencies as he contested the claim of the petitioner that intelligence agencies were beyond the government control.

The government stand was the reiteration of its earlier stand that the government had an “enormous amount of control” over the working of the intelligence agencies including their finances.

The government had earlier told the court that a parliamentary sub-committee goes into their working and tables a report in the parliament which are not published.

Appearing for the NGO, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the court that intelligence agencies together had an annual budget of over Rs.60,000 crores and there should be some “oversight” and aceaccountability” of the organisations like legislative control and auditing of their accounts by the CAG.

The intelligence agencies that the NGO CPIL was seeking to be brought under legislative scrutiny and the auditing of their accounts by CAG included the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and the National Technical Research Organisation.

The NGO had contended that these intelligence agencies were snooping on the privacy of the citizens and were operating without any legislative mandate.

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