Foundation for Media Professionals v. Union of India & Ors. | Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 395 of 2022

The Supreme Court on November 7th expressed concerns over the arbitrary seizure of media professionals’ digital devices and stressed the need for better guidelines to protect their interests.

A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Foundation for Media Professionals through Advocate-on-Record Rahul Narayan urging the court to establish safeguards against unreasonable interference by law enforcement agencies and create comprehensive guidelines for search and seizure of digital devices.


“There are hundreds of journalists whose digital devices are taken away en masse. The issues raised in this petition are very significant because there are no guidelines with reference to when and what may be seized, what can be accessed, what kind of protection is ensured for personal data, health data, financial data…The entire digital footprint is on that one device. Once an investigating agency is involved, it’s not like the person can have a back-up…”


Justice Kaul, however, stressed the importance of guidelines to protect journalists from arbitrary seizures –

“It’s a serious matter. These are media professionals who will have their own sources and other things. There must be some guidelines. If you take everything away, there’s a problem. You must ensure that there are some guidelines.”

Justice Kaul firmly said that guidelines were required to ensure that the powers of the agency were not misused in this respect –

“I’m finding it very difficult to accept some kind of all-within power that the agencies have…This is very dangerous. You must have better guidelines. If you want us to do it, we’ll do it. But my view is that you ought to do it yourself.

Quoted Example :

The Supreme Court issued its famous Vishaka guidelines on sexual harassment, the foundation has urged the court to issue guidelines to strike a balance between the right to privacy in the digital space and the legitimate interests of law enforcement, in line with established judgments.

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