Posted by: editorlnav | November 30, 2010

Would Cabinet Committee On Security Impose Natgrid Upon Us?

National intelligence grid (Natgrid) is one of the most crucial projects of India. It is a project launched by the Home Ministry of India and its primary purpose is to strengthen the intelligence infrastructure in India. However, to be successful, Natgrid project must meet certain prerequisites.

According to Praveen Dalal, Advocate at Supreme Court of India and leading Techno Legal Expert of India, “NATGRID Project is both “essential as well as controversial”. It is essential as it safeguards the Security of India. It is controversial because it does not provide “adequate safeguards” to prevent its abuse”.

To make it sure that Natgrid project is not misused, the cabinet committee on security (CCS) must clear it. In the past CCS has asked for further “safeguards” before the Natgrid can be launched in India. Till now the Natgrid project has not been cleared by the CCS as it has failed to provide any safeguards in this regard.

The cabinet committee on security would consider the project report regarding Natgrid within the next few weeks. It has to clear the project proposal based on the detailed project report before Natgrid can be implemented in India. However, of late CCS has become almost dormant regarding protecting civil liberties of Indians. Although there are no signs of any “procedural safeguards” that Natgrid project has put in place yet no objection has come from CCS till now.

Does it mean Natgrid is an evil project? Not necessarily. Natgrid is an essential requirement for robust and effective intelligence agencies and law enforcement functions in India. The only requirement is to ensure that its abuses can be anticipated, prevented and remedied, says Praveen Dalal.

It would be a good option if the cabinet committee on security clarifies its stand on this project. Further, the CCS must also ensure that Home Minister P.Chidambaram do not have a free run in this regard that is clearly violative of the provisions of Indian Constitution.

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