Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Law Enforcement And Center-State Relationships In India

Recently the Goa police has been pulled up for not sending details of the Diwali-eve bomb blast investigations to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) set up in 2008 to investigate terror-related crimes in the country. State chief secretary Sanjiv Srivastava admitted that the Goa police had bypassed the NIA and sent updates of the Oct 16 investigations to officials in the ministry of home affairs. This has proved the apprehensions raised by experts like B.S. Dalal previously.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are virtually governed by no law in India. The government of India (GOI) never took pain to provide a viable and constitutionally sound legal framework for these institutions in India. The net result is that most of them are still governed by colonial and outdated laws.

Surprisingly, this scenario has not been challenged in the Indian courts. The constitution of India has mandated that law enforcement is a matter of “State List”. The Center cannot legislate on this crucial area. If the Center makes a law in this regard, the same would disturb the harmony between the Center and States relations. So does India has any constitutionally valid legal framework for law enforcement and/or intelligence agencies?

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law, “With the enactment of National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 some steps have been taken in this regard. However, the viability and constitutionality of this Act is yet to be checked. When the Center encroaches upon the powers of the States, constitutional crisis and disputes are bound to arise. Realising the seriousness of the issue, Perry4Law has provided a “10 Point Legal Framework for Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies in India” to the Government of India”.

The government of India has still to enact suitable laws in this crucial direction. In the absence of the same, there are great chances that instances of lack of mutual understanding and cooperation between NIA and State police force may increase. In fact, to a great extent the State police is well within its rights and power to ignore the mandates of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.


Cyber Security Of Defense Forces In India Is Required

Cyber security in India has always received an alien treatment. There cannot be any doubt that cyber security is not only important for securing the cyberspace of a Nation, it is also crucial for securing its territorial boundaries. For instance, strategic and crucial information can be gathered from manipulating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) used by strategic units of a Nation.

Cyber security of India is very important to protect businesses, governments and general public at large. The same must be a part of the national policy of India. Unfortunately, cyber security in India is an ignored world. There are many factors that are ailing cyber security in India.

The position is even worst when it comes to wireless security in India. Wireless security has become a headache due to its misuse by terrorists in India. A weak cyber security policy in India is also resulting in increased cyber terrorism activities in India. We have to device methods to tackle cyber terrorism in India.

Another crucial aspect related to a secure and strong cyber security in India pertains to critical ICT infrastructure protection in India. Critical infrastructure is becoming increasingly dependent upon ICT these days. If we are unable to secure an ICT system we are also risking critical ICT infrastructure as well.

Recently, it has been reported that the Chinese intelligence agencies may have planted computer malware and broken into the headquarters of 33 Corps, the army formation looking after most of the north-eastern border with China. The break-in included the planting of trojan viruses which may have given Chinese operatives remote access to the computer network at the 33 Corps headquarters in Sukhna, near Siliguri, West Bengal.

The defense forces also need cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities. The digital life is an altogether different segment where traditional methods are ineffective. The cyber war and cyber terrorism threats are not only real but also very dangerous. India must upgrade its cyber security and national security capabilities as soon as possible. Repeated cyber security breaches have been reported in India from time to time but the attitude of Indian government has not yet changed. It is difficult to anticipate what would wake up the Indian government from its indefinite deep sleep and do the needful.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network And Systems Of India

During the current winter session (December 2009) of the Parliament of India it was disclosed that the government of India (GOI) is interconnecting about 14,000 police stations and 6,000 police offices across the country through Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) aimed at crime investigation and detection of criminals. The GOI is also examining the feasibility of connecting hotels and guest houses to the CCTNS system. The bigger question is whether the GOI would be able to do so without a failure and wastage of crores of public money?

CCTNS Project has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. It has a financial cushion of Rs.2000 Crores as per the 11th Five Year Plan. The Project would be initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and implemented by the National Crime Records Bureau.

The CCTNS project is to be implemented in a manner where the major role would lie with the State Governments in order to bring in the requisite stakes, ownership and commitment, and only certain core components would be in the hands of the Central Government, apart from the required review and monitoring of project implementation on a continuing basis.

The need for such a system was felt after the terror attacks in Mumbai last November, where the slow response time of the security forces and inadequate crisis management capabilities resulted in many casualties and property loss which could have been anticipated and averted.

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law, “CCTNS Project is a complicated and time consuming initiative. It must be preceded by suitable “Policy Framework” as well as by adequate “Techno-Legal Training” of the persons going to manage the same”. The stakes are high so must be the training and development standards, said Dalal.

The previous experience of other countries has shown that inadequate planning and training can result in wastage of money and can defeat the purpose of this project. If India wants to succeed it must first acquire the expertise to manage the CCTNS Project before jumping upon this unexplored terrain.