SC refuses to entertain plea for framing guidelines to regulate work of private detectives


New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines to regulate the work and domain of private detectives till a codified act comes into existence.

The plea had also sought directions to the government to set up a mechanism to prevent transmission of unlawfully procured personal details of Indian citizens to foreign countries.

"You please withdraw it or we will dismiss it," a bench headed by Justice R F Nariman told senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija, who was appearing for the petitioner.

Makhija, who argued that snooping by private agencies is not regulated and the issue is needed to be considered, withdrew the petition.

The plea, filed by a Haryana-based woman, alleged that two private detectives who are directors of a Delhi-based company had illegally recorded and filmed her personal details without authorisation from any authority and forwarded them to a person based in the US.

The petition alleged that the US national is using those "fraudulently procured details" in a court of law there.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench asked Makhija, "You only tell us as to how we can issue a writ of mandamus to a private body."

"Can we issue writ to such persons," the bench, also comprising justices Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, said.

The petitioner's counsel said that writ of mandamus can be issued, to the Ministry of Home Affairs and there is no law to regulate this.

"This is infringement of my (petitioner) private life," the petitioner's counsel said.

The plea also sought a direction to the private company not to share or transfer in public domain the illegally procured details of petitioner and also to restrain it from testifying its veracity in the Circuit court of Fairfax County, Virginia in a case filed there by a woman against her divorced husband.

It sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to initiate appropriate legal action against the private firm for trespassing in the personal and intimate domain of the petitioner by impersonating its true identity and motive.

"In the absence of 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 along with necessary and appropriate directions by this court," the plea said while alleging infringement of the right to privacy of the petitioner.

It alleged that the illegally procured intimate details were sent by the directors of the private firm to the foreign national knowing that the same shall be used in a court in the US and now, they have agreed to testify about its veracity in the court there.(PTI)