A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the regulation of intelligence agencies like the IB and the R&AW in India was field in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan in line with the supervisory mechanisms available in democracies like the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The petition – the first of its kind to be filed in the Supreme Court in India – attempts to bring the intelligence agencies under an Act to be passed by Parliament to ensure that they are not misused by the government. Arguing that the intelligence agencies are acting "without any sanction o the law" the petition states that they violate the rule of law as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. Incidentally, the Constitution in its Seventh schedule has also stated that a central Intelligence Bureau should be created by an Act of Parliament. However, all the three intelligence agencies – the IB, R&AW and NTRO – were all created through an executive order of the government and not through an Act of Parliament.
In the United States the CIA and the NSA were created by Acts of Parliament with elaborate supervisory mechanisms of the Congress. In the UK similar laws were passed by the British Parliament to bring the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS), the Security Service and the General Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) under its supervisory mechanism. This ensured that the powerful intelligence agencies could be regulated by the lawmakers to prevent their misuse by the governments and all their secret funds be monitored closely.
The PIL also points out that while the intelligence agencies are drawing funds from the consolidated fund of India, there is no audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. This has led to fears that there is wide-spread misuse of the funds and has also led to several illegalities in the past.