In the past as well in principle approval was given to NATGRID Project but it was not able to proceed as it lacks the basic Planning, Management and Legal Framework. Even today and after the in principle approval of CCS, NATGRID Project is still without any Legal Framework and Parliamentary Oversight.
Further, the CCS has granted its approval to NATGRID Project for “Limited Purposes” only. CCS has allowed NATGRID to operate for “Limited Phases” only that also where the same can operate within the limits of present Legal Framework. For subsequent stages, NATGRID has “not been approved” till “Suitable Amendments” are made in the Laws of India.
Experts in India have been saying that NATGRID Project of India must comply with Civil Liberties in order to be Legal and Constitutional. Fortunately, the CCS has also “Endorsed” this view and this is the reason why it did not give permission for subsequent and “Final Phases” of NATGRID Project. The CCS has just cleared first two “non-controversial phases” and it is still holding back nod for later phases that require Legal Alterations
The real problem with India is that it is not respecting Human Rights in Cyberspace. We have no E-Surveillance Policy in India and Lawful Interception Law in India is missing. Phone Tapping in India is not done in a Constitutional manner and Laws like Information Technology Act 2000, Official Secrets Act, Indian Telegraph Act 1885, etc are “no more constitutional” and deserve to be repealed.
It is only now that India has started paying attention towards issues like Privacy Laws but even these efforts lack Protection of Civil Liberties in Cyberspace and Protection of Privacy Rights in the Information Era.
NATGRID Project of India would not be finished before Five Years in these circumstances. This is despite the claims of Home Minister P. Chidambaram. If NATGIRD Project is finished before that time period and within the present Legal Framework it means only two things. Either the CCS has “forsaken” the Civil Liberties of India Citizens or Home Ministry is operating the NATGIRD Project “Illegally and Unconstitutionally” and without the knowledge of CCS.