Mr Nikil Kumar, MP chairman of the Indian Parliamentary committee which examined the proposed amendments to Information Technology Act 2000 deserves a special commendation from the public for a very sensible work done amidst enormous counter pressure.

The committee was assigned to examine the Information Technology Act 2000 amendment Bill 2006 which was placed in the parliament in December 2006. This bill was the culmination of the work of an “Expert Committee” constituted in the aftermath of the arrest of baazee.com CEO after the DPS video was put on sale in the auction site.

The report itself was dubbed “Fraudulent”, “Criminal Friendly”, “Turning a Tiger into a Pussycat” etc by the undersigned and as a “Sham” by another Cyber Law Expert in the country passed through several stages of approvals to reach the parliament.

There was a strong lobby in the media led by Times of India group supporting the Bill. The PIB on behalf of the Ministry of Information Technology did a PR exercise to promote the Bill as the greatest thing to happen in the Cyber World in India.

After the recent onslaught by Times of India through its Cover page report “Recipe for Killing Internet”, a mini storm was raised in the global media as if India is turning regressive with Internet laws.

Many who read and followed only the TOI report and the numerous blog reproductions of the same called the Parliamentary committee as “Idiots”, “Morons” etc and went on to mourn “India is always like this” etc.

Now that the copy of the Committee’s report is available in the public domain (http://www.naavi.org/cl_editorial_07/edit_oct_21_ita_2006_standing_committee.htm) it is open for the public to peruse the report and come to their own conclusions.

After years of cordial relations with the Ministry of Information Technology since around 1997-98, the proposed amendments had created a situation where Naavi.org had to severely criticize the department officials on occasions often calling the attempt as a “Fraud on the Public.” 

After having been very vocal on its opposition to the amendments since 2005, now we record our pleasant surprise at the maturity shown in the proceedings of the parliamentary committee which has undone some of the damage to the integrity of our legislative system.

Some of the questions put to the representatives of the DIT who presented their case on the amendments reflect that the members of the committee had done their own research on the subject and got the wind of the hidden motive behind the amendments which was to provide an “Immunity to Internet Intermediaries” particularly the e-auction sites and portals. (Not ISPs or BPOs)

The chairman of the committee Mr Nikhil Kumar, who is a Congress MP from Bihar deserves credit for the excellent work. There must also be many unnamed persons who must have contributed to the strong recommendations made for a “review of the review”. All those persons deserve our commendations. Some representatives from CBI appear to have taken a strong objection to the attempt to weaken the law enforcement system for Cyber Crimes and they also deserve special mention for commendation.

We hope that  at least now, the Ministry of Communications and Technology will make amends for its past mistake without standing on protecting the ego of some of its past colleagues.

Naavi

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