Delhi HC directs MHA to clarify its position on maintenance of e-surveillance data

We have been pursuing information relating to the scope and scale of e-surveillance conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (‘MHA’) since December 2018. The information was, at first, denied on the grounds of national security. Thereafter, on appeal, the information was denied on a new ground that minimal data was maintained and records pertaining to the information sought were destroyed from time to time. When we, further, appealed against this order before the Chief Information Commissioner (‘CIC’), the CIC accepted another new ground - that the information on e-surveillance orders was not maintained at all by the public information officer at the MHA! We have challenged this order of the CIC before the Delhi High Court, which was heard on 05.04.2022. The Court directed the counsel for the public information officers and the MHA to seek instructions on maintenance of records.

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