House agrees on bill that allows intelligence to tap phone

KATHMANDU, March 18: A meeting of the Legislation Committee in the Federal Parliament has endorsed a provision in the Special Service Bill that will allow the National Investigation Department to tap phone calls without court approval.

The government had tabled the Bill at the National Assembly in December last year in a bid to strengthen the investigation department to counter “threats to national security, sovereignty and integrity”.

Clause 10 of the Bill provisions that the intelligence officers can intercept or keep under surveillance an audio conversation that is suspicious.

The bill initially drew criticisms from the opposition parties who argued that the provision is against the spirit of the constitution which guarantees the rights to freedom and privacy of an individual.

However, the opposition has now agreed to endorse the Bill if anyone who is found to have misused the provision is punished, according to the Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader in the National Assembly, Radheshyam Adhikari.