Friday, 30 November 2012

The State Of My State

"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally."
                                                                                                                                          Oscar Wilde

It seems that the politicians of this nation are keen on playing the game of "Good Cop, Bad Cop", with the general public. On the state level, they show an undue haste in implementing IT laws (read article 66A of the IT Act), while on the Central level they field Mr. Sibal to lambast the draconian elements of the Act.

The blatant misuse of IT act laws, makes it difficult to believe that I am not living in China. Internet censorship and media gagging are no hallmarks of a mature democracy. And yet we have instances, where tweet against a Minister's son, political cartoons or a passing comment on a social website can send you behind bars.

It is a welcome step that the Supreme Court has taken cognisance of the misuse and served notices to the AG and the culprit state governments. This is what happens to laws, which are passed without a lot of discussion on the floor of the house. It would be interesting to note that the dreaded section 66A was not a part of the original draft of the act, but included in the first amendment of the bill. The IT Act, in 2008, was passed within a day in both houses of the Parliament, which at any rate is not enough time to look and debate the clauses in it.

The undue haste is not only in the framing of the law. Even the implementation, which is often dictated to the local thana by the politicians, is a glaring loophole in the judicial system. It would only be appropriate, that the Maharashtra Government accepts the findings of the investigation report on the Palghar incident and punishes the guilty officials for the over-reach.

Until the time the act is modified to encompass the modern day realities, I have a few suggestions to every internet user in India. Each of us must make a deep study of the IT act, hire a full time cyber lawyer to monitor our internet activities, so that when the cyber cops come, we can explain them the law and why we cannot be arrested. Another suggestion is to have a video recording of clarifications that Mr.Sibal and Mr. Deora are busy pedalling on the various news channels.

The recent developments of blatant misuse of the IT Act clearly demonstrate that the activists have been right. The problem with many such misused laws is that they have been passed without adequate public debates and stakeholder consultations. Crony discussions by readymade elite committees are meant to override public scrutiny.

It is high time that our lawmakers came out of the utopian world and start making laws in consultation with the mango people. Else we are on our way on to becoming a banana republic.

1 comment:

  1. Good we have some intelligent people on top of Supreme Court at least. Court save the people..