Mar 02, 2007 at 09:20pm IST

Official word on phone tapping is out

New Delhi: Even as a phone tapping case involving Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh is being heard in the Supreme Court, the government is busy formulating a set of laws on phone tapping.

According to the new telephone tapping guidelines which came into effect from Friday, officers at the rank of Joint Secretary in the Centre can authorise orders for phone tapping "in unavoidable circumstances.”

"In unavoidable circumstances, such order may be made by an officer, not below the rank of joint secretary at the centre, who has been duly authorised by Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary," the notification said.

TAP DANCE: The tapping directions cannot remain in force beyond 180 days.

The notification also makes clear that the direction for interception would remain in force for not more than 60 days from the date of issuing.

These directions can be renewed, but cannot remain in force beyond a total period of 180 days.

The guidelines require telecom operators to appoint two nodal officers for scrutiny of all the requests for interception from authorised security agencies.

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