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Delhi High Court Seeks Centre's Response On Plea For Regulation Of Private Detectives

Nupur Thapliyal
22 Sep 2021 2:29 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Seeks Centres Response On Plea For Regulation Of Private Detectives
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking guidelines to regulate the work of private detectives till the codified Act comes into existence.Justice Rekha Palli granted six weeks' time to the Central Government while posting the matter for further hearing on January 10, 2022.Invoking the right to privacy, the plea has been moved by a woman who alleged...

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking guidelines to regulate the work of private detectives till the codified Act comes into existence.

Justice Rekha Palli granted six weeks' time to the Central Government while posting the matter for further hearing on January 10, 2022.

Invoking the right to privacy, the plea has been moved by a woman who alleged that her personal details, including intimate visuals, were shared by private detectives to a foreign national who in turn is using the same in a court of law in USA.

Further stating that the Private Detective Agencies (Regulation) Bill has not come into force even after a lapse of 13 years, the plea avers thus:

"Had this bill have seen the light of the day in the form of a codified law then the Indian courts would have vested Jurisdiction to pass restraining orders in appropriate cases, but in absence of any such law this Hon'ble Court is duty bound to exercise the extra ordinary writ Jurisdiction U/A 226 of the Constitution of India and pass restraining orders to protect the fundamental rights of the Petitioner."

Showing inclination to issue notice in the matter, the Court however clarified that it will only examine the aspect of issuance of guidelines while asking the petitioner to seek appropriate remedy in law qua other prayers.

"Because in the absence any regulatory mechanism to maintain the record of assignment(s) given by any foreign nation to any Indian company or citizen to spy/monitor/ surveillance of any Indian citizens is a serious threat to the security of the Nation and its citizen, which calls for urgent attention alongwith necessary and appropriate directions by this Hon'ble Court," the plea adds.

The petition has been moved through Advocates Rajesh Kumar and Atul Agarwal.

Private Detective Agencies (Regulation) Bill

This Bill, now withdrawn, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August 2007. It proposed regulation and licensing of private detective agencies operating in India through boards established at the central and state level.

It further provided that a private detective agency may employ a person as an agent if he is an Indian citizen, of 21 years of age or above, and satisfies certain specified requirements about his antecedents, training and physical fitness. Such agency must however, maintain a register containing the names and addresses of its managers, staff and clients.

The Bill also prescribed that violation of a person's right to privacy and freedom by a detective shall be punishable with imprisonment upto six months and fine upto Rs. 50,000. 

The bill was withdrawn last year stating there are very few operators in this sector and hence, there is no need for licensing. 

Case Title: Shweta Singh v. UOI & Ors.

Edited by Akshita Saxena

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