SC agrees to hear PIL to make RAW, IB accountable to Parliament

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today agreed to examine whether intelligence agencies RAW, IB and NTRO can be brought within the supervisory mechanisms of Parliament and other Constitutional bodies.

Although a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir expressed reservation on whether the court can pass such direction, it agreed to hear a PIL seeking the court's direction for Parliamentary oversight and financial auditing of RAW, IB and NTRO by CAG like in western countries.

The court was hearing the PIL filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation which submitted in its plea that the agencies are being misused for political purposes and there is an urgent need to make these organisations accountable to Parliament.

Senior advocate Anil Divan and advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, submitted that India is the only democracy in the world whose intelligence agencies have no legitimacy in the eyes of the law and are not accountable to the people or Parliament.

"These intelligence agencies are acting without any sanctity of law and hence, it is violation of Rule of Law which is enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution and

treated as basic feature of the Constitution," they said.

The bench, however, said it is a policy matter to be decided by the Centre but agreed to hear the plea and posted the case for February 11 after the petitioner contended that earlier also the court had passed direction on policy matters.

"Former heads of these organisations have published books on how the money is misused and and how the agencies are misused for political purposes," the petition said, adding accounting is required as "more than ten thousand crore is granted to these agencies out of consolidated funds of India".

"This accountability to Parliament or any other democratic institution has given rise to serious cases of misuse and corruption in these agencies. This serious anomaly in the nation's polity and democratic ideals, which needs to be removed. Allowing these intelligence agencies to function without any accountability is clearly arbitrary and hence, in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the petition said.

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