Mobile Call Recording: Is It Legal In India

Today if we look down into matter of mobile call recording then we may end up landing in so many possibilities. It is said that mobile call recording is not legal in India but there is no clear strata in regard to recording of calls.  Phone tapping means listening calls of other person secretly or / recording a communication in telephone in order to get information about others activities.  Recorded discussions are treated in various ways by the law relying upon how the recording is acquired. Tape accounts of discussions have over and over been held to be permissible as proof by courts. In any case, this does not naturally make phone tapping and the account of telephonic discussions legitimate. People often try to record the conversation with some or the other person these days either just for the sake of blackmailing them or either obtaining huge amount of money from, Few people have made it their sole business for money so it can’t be said that recording mobile conversation is legal today because if it will be legalized then many of us would be suffering. It’s about the privacy also of the person, one should not be allowed to violate the privacy of the person. On the off chance that you have recorded an individual call and imparted to other individuals and ridiculed the other individual’s words and mentality. Such sort of activity is absolutely unlawful and you will be sentenced for overstepping the law. In any case, in the event that, somebody undermines someone else and such someone else records the call and the legitimate delegate of such another presents it under the watchful eye of the court as a proof, it will not be considered as an illicit demonstration. In the event that, the telephonic discussion is recorded by an outsider without assent of members. It is illicit, as it encroaches Right to security. ( PUCL v. Association of India, 1997, AIR199 7SC 568 in such manner said that telephonic discussions are an imperative piece of an individual’s private life, and individuals do reserve a privilege to hold private discussions in the security of their homes or workplaces. Further it is said that Phone being a type of broadcast additionally falls under the domain of the Indian Telegraph Act. Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act engages the legislature to claim authorized transmits and to arrange interference of messages. On the event of any open crisis, or in light of a legitimate concern for open security, the Central government or State government or any individual explicitly approved by the Central or State government, whenever fulfilled that it is fundamental or practical to do as such, may take impermanent ownership of any broadcast built up, kept up or worked by any individual authorized under the Indian Telegraph Act. However it is bit dicey to give a comment whether it is legal or illegal but in case where the call recording used in a wrongful manner likewise to commit a fraud, blackmailing is totally illegal, but also in case where a person records a call of third person without concern as if he is aware the he is a blackmailer and in order to prove this as evidence, he can use the same.

The Indian law doesn’t give a reasonable response to recording one’s own discussions without the assent of second gathering.

In the event that a telephonic discussion was singularly recorded by one of its member (or, potentially, with their assent) without acquiring the assent of the other(s), it is conceivable that the non-consenting gathering/gatherings could guarantee that their entitlement to security was abused. It is far-fetched that such a case would be fruitful if the account were executed by one of the gatherings to the discussion as there has all the earmarks of being no legitimate bar individually discussions. Assuming, in any case, the account was executed through an outsider, it is conceivable that the parties who did not agree to the chronicle of the discussion would have a more grounded case that their security had been damaged, as the negligible demonstration of account would apparently add up to the divulgence of the substance of the discussion to an individual who was not involved with it in any ways. Unauthorized tapping is in violation of the right to privacy and the aggrieved person can file a complaint in the Human Rights Commission. An FIR can be lodged in the nearest Police Station when unauthorized phone tapping comes into the knowledge of the person. Additionally, the aggrieved person can move the Court against the person/company doing the Act in an unauthorized manner under Section 26 (b) of the Indian Telegraphic Act which provides for 3 year imprisonment for persons held for tapping. The person (s) can also be prosecuted for authorized tapping but sharing of the data in an authorized manner. There is also a growing body of various opinions both in India and abroad that supports telephone tapping and describes it as a necessary crime. Recording telephonic conversation including one’s own conversations however it is a completely different ball game and the law is not crystal clear and we cannot solely say that it is legal or illegal in India. The primary legal impediment relating to the recording of telephonic conversations is the likelihood of privacy concerns arising where the recording is executed without the consent of those participating in the conversation. Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951, which lays down the procedural requirements which must be followed for telephone tapping to be legal; Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which deals with the power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource; Information Technology (Directions for Interception or Monitoring or Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009. Under these laws, the tapping of phones by outsiders is commonly illicit, except if the systems ordered by law are pursued. Appropriately, it is conceivable to decipher the law to imply that tapping would be illicit even is the individual whose phone is tapped agrees to the tapping. Further, even on account of ‘consensual tapping’ — which is, no doubt, unlawful — security suggestions may emerge. This is on the grounds that when a phone is tapped, the discussions of the individual whose phone is tapped with other individuals would be recorded, and those other individuals would apparently not have given their agreement to being recorded. If, however, the tapping of a telephone was legal, privacy implications giving rise to liability would not be an issue. So it is not clear to say that it’s legal or illegal based on the circumstances it can be decided.

Tripti Bhushan

Assistant Professor

Department of Law

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