For the first time, Parliament will now get a chance to debate the efficacy, constitutional validity and oversight mechanisms of India’s intelligence community. For years, intelligence bureaus have worked in the shadows, accountable to few and with budgets that kept increasing without any auditing.
Congress MP Manish Tiwari took up the issue and worked on a private members’ bill—the Intelligence Services (powers and regulation) bill 2010. While it is an admitted fact that private members’ bills have never been passed by Parliament, Tiwari’s plan is to drag the issue to the highest legislative body for an informed discussion. In fact, he has argued that India’s intelligence agencies—the IB, RAW, NTRO—have no constitutional validity. He has repeatedly pointed out that the Constitution, in its seventh schedule, mandates that a central intelligence bureau be created by an act of Parliament.