Mr Azim Premji’s commment that “There is complete lack of Governance” at the Central Governemnt level drew complaints from Congress spokes persons MrÂ Manish Tiwari and Mrs Ambika Soni with an expected denial. They have also asked for specific instances to be cited by Mr Azim Premji.
Mr Azim Premji may have several big issues in mind which are pending decisions at the Government level but I would like to remind Mrs Ambika Soni and Mr Manish Tiwari about one issue which I have been following up since April 2011.
This is regarding the the need for continuance of the post of the Presiding Officer of Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CAT)Â in Delhi. The earstwhile Presiding officer attained super annuation on June 30 2011. Though this was known ever since he was appointed a few years back, no effort was taken by the MCIT to find a suitable replacement before the person retired.
As a result the CAT remains head less for the last 4 months. CAT is no ordinary establishment. It is the appellate court to which cases from all the States arising out of any cyber crimes would be referred to. If CAT is closed it means that there is no Cyber Judiciary system in India. This is a serious lapse in the Cyber Security system in the country.
Initially it was expected that the erstwhile incumbent may be given an extension. He had even posted several judgements for early July with the hope that his term would be extended since no alternative appointment had been finalized by DIT till then. However DIT did not take any action and therefore the earlier person automatically ceased to be functional from June 30 2011. Until the next person is appointed the entire infrastructure remains shut off. All the Cyber Crime victims whose cases are stuck up are now waiting for the appointment while DIT is in no hurry.
The undersigned has reminded the Secretary MCIT, Director CERT_IN, Minsiter in charge of the department, several MPs, the opposition leaders of BJP at both houses, Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar, MP, the President of India as well as the Chief Justice of India seeking their assistance in the matter.
So far nothing has happenned.
Thinking that this Government does not function except under the direction of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, a letter has also been sent to her through Mr Rahul Gandhi, MP.
A copy of this letter is reproduced here:
E Mail sent on 13th October 2011:
Mr Rahul Gandhi
Â Sub: Cyber Judiciary in India
Â Dear Sir
Â I wanted to send the enclosed letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Unfortunately her e mail address email@example.com is not working.Â I am therefore sending this email to you.
Â The letter is regarding the failure of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in appointing the Presiding Officer of Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
Â I have exhausted all other avenues of representation and sending this mail to Mrs Sonia Gandhi as a last resort.Â
Kindly go through the same and initiate appropriate action.
Â If Congress party considers public good as a necessary Governance objective, I suppose the contents of this mail and the attachment would receive due attention.
The letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi is also reproduced here:
Mrs Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi 110011 India
PH: 91-11-23014161, 23014481
Sub: Kindly Prevent Void in Cyber Judiciary in India
I am a Netizen activist closely following the development of Cyber Laws in India since 1998 when the Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA 2000) was conceived. I regret that I need to draw your attention to the matter contained herein amidst all the other matters of national interest that may be before you at this point of time. However I consider that this matter is also of great interst to the common man in India and despite persistent efforts at all other levels I have not been able to elicit the required response from the Government lead by you.
One of the notable contributions made by ITA 2000 was the institution of two specific civil judicial forums to redress the grievances arising out of contraventions of ITA 2000. Accordingly in 2003, â€œAdjudicating Officersâ€ came to be appointed in every State and Union Territory in India as the first exclusive judicial forum to which a victim of a Cyber Crime could approach. Additionally, â€œCyber Appellate Tribunalâ€ (CAT) conceived as the appellate Authority for adjudication decisions became active since June 2007 when honourable Justice R C Jain was appointed as the first Presiding Officer of the CAT. On February 25, 2009, honourable Justice Sri Rajesh Tandon took over as the Presiding Officer.
Since last one year,Â public interest in Adjudication and the activities of the CAT have increased several fold. After years when no complaint was filed with any adjudicator and hence no appeal was ever made to the CAT, today about 20 cases are pending in adjudicating offices in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka itself. Already several appeals have come to CAT from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and other States where Adjudicating officers have been active. There are several cases on which judgments are due to be released by CAT. Behind every pending case in CAT there is a story of a victim of Cyber Crime for whom the proceedings held a hope of justice.
Unfortunately, term of the previous Presiding officer ended on by June 30, 2011 by virtue of the incumbent reaching super annuation age though the five year contractual term of appointment was still not over. So far, the Government of India has not appointed any person to the post. As a result CATÂ has ceased to function after June 30 2011.
This sudden discontinuity has held up all the present activities and the judgments to be delivered. Considering that some of these cases have run for more than a year and the victims of cyber crimes have pursued the course of justice with great difficulty, it would be a great injustice rendered to them because of the failure of the administration to take timely action.
In the interest of the general public and particularly the cyber crime victims who are pursuing their cases with CAT, it is necessary that either a new Chairman takes charge at the earliest. But the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has not shown any interest let alone urgency in filling up the vacancy. I have lost all hopes that the Ministry will take a decision in this regard.
The inference public can draw from this is that either the Ministry is too busy with fighting the 2G scam or that no Judge is interested in working under the tainted Ministry. Alternatively, the Ministry could be catering to some vested interests who are not interested in the functioning of CAT. I wish these are mere speculations and would be happy to beÂ proved wrong.
I therefore humbly request that you may kindly pass necessary advise to the MCIT for immediate action to either appoint a new Presiding officer without further delay.
Unfortunately, Since October 13th there is no response even from these functionaries who represent the “High Command”.
Do we need any more proof for what Mr Premji has alleged? .. that this Government has completely stopped its day to day operations?
DIT officials still find time to go abroad for conferences but not to even send a response to all the communication generated. I donot know ifÂ this Government can function only if driven by the Supreme Court. We then need to file PILs for getting even day to day activities of the Government being done.
I urge some persons in Delhi to take up this cause and make DIT act positivelyÂ in this regard. Opposition leaders Mr Arun Jaitely and Sushma Swaraj as well as responsible MPs like Rajeev Chandrashekar should also try to persuade the DIT.
I request DIT not to block Bloggersnews.net to shut off this article from public gaze.
This note is written in public interest and I hope something good will come out of this.