I am picking up on Arun’s usual thoughtful piece about the legality of sting operations. Perhaps, I have missed much of the literature, but I have yet to see a good substantive discussion of the legal and constitutional dimensions of the problem (based on statutory provisions and caselaw), and I think our blog should fill that void. For instance, there is a clear issue of whether sting operations constitute illegal entrapment under Indian criminal law. But, on the other hand, there is the strong free-speech dimension that would trump ordinary statutory prohibitions. For instance, is there a New York Times v. Sullivan-type exemption when a sting operation involves a public figure? Can newspapers claim a firmer basis to indulge in sting operations than broadcasting media based on their traditionally stronger protections under Article 19 (1) (a)?
I recently had the opportunity to discuss this issue with Sevanti Ninan, India’s leading media commentator. Sevanti noted that there is a provision under the Prenatal Diagnotic Techniques (Amendment) Act of 1994 was the only statutory provision that allows sting operations. I found she has elaborated upon these views in this article. We clearly need more research on this issue.