ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Legislation on Phone-Tapping

Legislation on Phone-Tapping A G Noorani THE Interception of Communications Bill introduced in the British House of Commons recently deserves careful study in India. As the White Paper on the subject published in February 1985 (Cmnd 9438) recalled, "The European Court of Human Rights gave judgment in August 1984 in the Malone Case, which concerned telephone interception on behalf of the police. The Court acknowledged that detailed procedures existed governing the interception of communications and interception under these procedures was lawful under English law. It concluded, however, that the law did not indicate with reasonable clarity the scope and manner of exercise of the discretion conferred on the public authorities. In an earlier case in 1978 (involving the Federal Republic of Germany) the Court had recognised the necessity of legislative powers to intercept communications in strictly defined and limited circumstances. The relevant Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights are set out in Annex I with references to the two cased cited!' The cases are Klass and Others decided on July 4, 1978, and the Malone case decided on August 2, 1984. The relevant provision is Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It embodies the right to respect for a man's "private and family life, his home and his correspondence".

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