News Corner: Centre Upholds Fundamental Right, Declines SEBI’s Request to Intercept Phone Calls

Image Source: Deccan Herald

In 2018, the Securities Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) constructed a panel, headed by T.K. Vishwanathan. The objective of the panel was to recommend changes to the present framework and rules in order to effectively tackle and curb market frauds and insider trading. SEBI had requested the Centre for permission to intercept phone calls, since the US Securities Exchange Commission is also vested with the same.

However, the Centre has rejected SEBI’s request to be allowed the powers to tap phone calls of those individuals who are involved in insider trading. Access to such details shall be granted in the rarest of cases of which involve threats to national security, terror financing, and money laundering. This kind of power is sparingly allowed as the last resort because they conflict with citizen’s fundamental rights to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Besides, if it gives such powers to one government authority, soon, several other authorities will be demanding the same.

This is a welcome step as the Centre  has taken cognizance and upheld citizen’s fundamental rights.

Reported by Tanya Garg, Senior Editor

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