Blocking of websites in India for political considerations has been in news for some time.
The fact that this power is being politically misused is confirmed by the incident where the website of a political cartoonist, Mr Aseem Trivedi participating in the Anna Hazare protest in MMRDA grounds has been blocked. Times of India has reported that the cartoon site of Aseem Trivedi was blocked by blocking the domain name cartoonsagainstcorruption.com.
The uniqueness of this blocking incident has been that it is not an ISP level blocking but a blocking at the domain name level by a notice to the domain name registrar BigRock.
Also the site has been remove not by a Court order but by Police action.
While the cartoon site has reportedly been now moved to another host, the incident creates a legal precedent of far reaching consequences though in a wrong context.
It is to be noted that blocking an objectionable content is different from forcing cancellation of a domain name. Domain Name is a “Virtual Property” and what Mumbai Police have done in this case is “Depriving a Citizen of his Right to Property”. This is violation of his fundamental right. The action needs to be questioned. The domain name registrar BigRock.in should also be questioned on the propreity of their action without even giving an opportunity for the domain owner to defend. It amounts to deficiency of service on their part. Their action reminds me of the famous quote in the Post Emergency days that “When some people were asked to bend, they crawled”.
This incident is therefore to be considered as a serious threat to democratic principles.
As we know Bloggernews.net is also a blocked site in India. I therefore request viewers of this post to redistribute this information to their friends in India so that some legal action can be initiated in Mumbai against this illegal action of the Mumbai Police.