Case Law Update: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) v Kabir Shankar Bose and Ors. (Delhi High court)- December 22, 2023

Posted On - 30 January, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva

In this case, upon an RTI application being made by Mr. Kabir Shankar Bose (the “Applicant – Respondent”) requesting TRAI (the “Appellant”) to understand if his mobile was under tracking, tapping or surveillance, the Appellant clarified that it does not maintain such information as it is maintained by the Telecom Service Provider (the “TSP”) of the Respondent and hence, expressed its inability to provide such information. CIC directed the Respondent to gather the required information from the TSP and provide the same to the Applicant – Respondent. On appeal, the High Court dismissed the order of the CIC and held that TRAI is not under any obligation to collect any such information from TSP under RTI application. The High Court further clarified that only the government is entitled to tracking, tapping or surveillance of mobile devices in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the nation, and disclosure of any such information is exempt under RTI Act. In view thereof, the High Court also held that widening the scope of TRAI’s powers and including the power to call for information related to interception or surveillance from private entities is incorrect as it would otherwise allowunregulated and interfering power.