Following is the copy of an email letter sent to Chief Minister of Karnataka under copies to the Minister of Law and Parliamentary affairs and the Secretaries of IT and law departments as well as the Chief secretary of the state.
AIFON will continue to follow up on this matter in the interest of the citizens and Netizens of Karnataka.
One of the objectives of AIFON is to mobilize a consolidated response of the Netizen community during elections so that our voices will be heard.
Sri Jagadish Shettar
Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka
I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the two policy decisions announced yesterday during the budget introduction which has relevance to the Netizens of Karnataka, namely provision of Internet at Schools and setting up of Cyber Cafes in all villages.
These measures are likely to benefit the community in general by empowering them with tools of progress.
The move is also creating more Netizens in Karnataka and particularly creating Netizen population in rural areas.
I as the founder of www.naavi.org and the All India Forum of Netizens (www.aifon.org.in) has been a Netizen activist since 1998 and also involved in activities such as Police training on Cyber Crimes and some E Governance activities.
Incidentally, I was also part of Karnataka BJP’s IT forum and have also addressed party functionaries in Chennai in one of the regional meets on Cyber policy initiatives a few years back.
In fact I had several years back placed a “Cyber Vidya” project for schools of Karnataka and “E-Bridge Center” project for Cyber Cafes without much of positive response from the Government of Karnataka. However it is better late than never. I am happy with the current announcements.
However I need to also point out that close observers of the developments in Cyber Space administration in Karnataka are aware that Karnataka at present has the dubious reputation of being the one State in India which does not have any “Cyber Justice Administration” system and the situation has arisen because of a questionable action of the previous IT Secretary.
I have already brought this to your attention through my previous emails. I have also brought this to the attention of the current IT Secretary, Law Secretary, the Chief secretary, Mr Suresh Kumar the minister for law and parliamentary affairs as well as the previous Chief Justice of Karnataka. Unfortunately no action has come forth in this regard. In the light of this background your new announcements appear to be good intentions on paper unlikely to see the light of the day unless you take steps to address the peculiar situation created by your insensitive officials.
I would like to reiterate the issue briefly as a repetition.
The IT Secretary of the State is called the “Adjudicator” under Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA 2000) amended in 2008. He is the sole judicial authority for the State of Karnataka for conducting enquiries and awarding compensation to any victim of a contravention of the ITA 2000/8 upto a value of Rs 5 crores. No civil court has jurisdiction under such matters. The matters coming under his jurisdiction includes all cyber crimes such as Bank Frauds, ATM Frauds etc which touch the hearts of the population closely.
In one of the earlier cases Gujarat Petrosynthese Ltd Vs Axis Bank followed by two other cases of victims of Cyber Crimes against other Banks, the then adjudicator namely Mr M.N.Vidyashankar gave a judgment that no complaints will be accepted by him against any corporate authority or by any corporate authority under Section 43 of ITA 2000/8. As a result judicial remedy for all contraventions mentioned under Section 43 of ITA 2000/8 which is also linked to most of the Cyber Crimes punishable under Section 66 of the Act has been shut off for every corporate entity in Karnataka and for everybody against any corporate authority in Karnataka.
This is an absurd decision and raises serious doubts about the competence of the then IT Secretary. The fact that Axis Bank was the beneficiay and it is the Bank working as a business partner of the E Governance department of Karnataka makes the decision even more uncomfortable.
If this decision is not corrected at the earliest the incompetance of the earlier IT Secretary gets endorsed as the incompetance of the current IT Secretary and the Government of Karnataka.
I suppose neither you nor the current IT Secretary would like to go down in the history of Cyber Legislation in Karnataka as persons who failed to respond when required. My own repeated references to the authorities indicate that the lack of action cannot be attributed to lack of being brought to the notice of the Officials or the Ministers. At some point of time in future this matter will come for a discussion in a Court of Law and the reputation of the State of Karnataka as an IT Savvy state will come for ridicule.
The matter is of utmost importance to the welfare of the Netizens of the State who are also Citizens of the State.
I am personally pushing the need for Netizen oriented action from the State Government through the All India Forum of Netizens and intend to make this a serious issue for contention during the next general elections.
Though I am a friend of the Government this issue of Netizens of Karnataka is close to my heart and I am forced to address this strong communication to you. I have also placed several suggestions to the Karnataka Government on re branding Bangalore as “Cyber Security Capital”, improving the “Cyber Cafe Regulation”, developing a “Cyber Security policy for Karnataka”, ‘Cyber Vidya project for Government High Schools”, etc. I will continue to place suggestions in public domain for any administrator to implement if they consider it useful for the Citizens of Karnataka.
I suppose you would appreciate my concern and take necessary action. If possible you should develop a Cyber Space Policy for Karnataka as a part of BJP’s election strategy.
This letter will be documented through a publication on the web space so that we can revisit the issue if need be as a friendly suggestion to the Government of Karnataka which was either respected and acted upon or ignored.
Founder www.naavi.org and All India Forum of Netizens
37, 20th Main, B S K Stage I
On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM, Vijayashankar Na <email@example.com> wrote:
> The Principal Secretary
> Department of Information Technology
> Government of Karnataka
> Sub: Regarding Adjudication System under ITA 2008
> Dear Sir
> I refer to my short email of 30th November 2012 regarding the above. I
> have not received any response for the same from your end. Since the
> said e-mail was in Kannada I suppose your department has not been able
> to respond. Hence I am sending a more detailed e-mail now in English
> so that you can respond with your views on the issues raised there in
> which is of critical interest to the people of Karantaka and more so
> the IT industry in Karantaka.
> The problem highlighted by me relates to the administrative time of
> the previous IT Secretary. However you have the right to correct an
> aberration and uphold justice and reputation of Karnataka. Hence the
> matter is brought before you. Kindly excuse me if any of my comments
> hence forth is uncomfortable.
> As I have pointed out in detail below, the issue is one that hurts the
> image of Karnataka as a state which is an IT leader in the country and
> shames the status of Law and Justice situation in the State. It has
> already created a precedence which will enter all law text books in
> the country as part of “Cyber Crime Case Study” and in our opinion
> will project Karantaka as a state where the IT Secretary has failed
> to fulfill the judicial responsibilities which they were honoured with
> under Information Technology Act 2000/8.
> Since sooner or later this issue will go to the Courts and a question
> will be asked of us if the Government was given sufficient notice to
> correct its mistake, I am taking this effort to also keep the Chief
> Secretary and the Law Secretary informed of the issue.
> Since the matter relates to the ability of the State Government to
> maintain the “Law and Justice Sytem” in the State, it is likely to be
> an election issue in the coming days. Hence the The Law Minister and
> Chief Minister have also been kept in the loop during earlier
> correspondence and also this e-mail.
> The Essence of the Issue:
> 1.The IT Secretary of the State is the “Adjudicator” of the state
> under section 46 of ITA 2000/8 and is the sole judicial authroity in
> the state to adjudicate and provide justice to Cyber Crime victims
> upto a loss of Rs 5 crores. Both individuals as well as IT and Non IT
> Companies look forward to the IT Secretary as the primary civil
> judicial authority of the State.
> 2. In three of the adjduication cases which were brought before the
> Adjudicator during 2012, the adjudicator came to a conclusion to the
> effect that “Section 43 of ITA 2000/8 can be invoked only by an
> individual against an individual and a Company can neither be the
> complaintant nor the respondent”.
> 3.The above decision was considered incorrect in view of the
> provisions of the General Clauses Act and to person who know law, it
> appears as blatantly unfair and illogical.
> 4.The decision was given in a case which involved a benefit of over Rs
> 32 lakhs to Axis Bank. Axis Bank happenned to be a contractor to the
> Karnataka E Governance department at the time the case was heard and
> the IT Secretary who acted as the Adjudicator was also the Secretary
> at the time in charge of e-Governance. This gave raise to a serious
> conflict which places the fairness of the decision under a cloud. More
> importantly this would sooner or later come for debate in a Court of
> law to determine if “IT Secretary” by virtue of his other
> responsibilities is inherently incapable of holding the judicial
> responsibiltiy for Cyber Crimes. If that happens, Karnataka will have
> the dubious distinction of claiming to be an IT Super State but
> contributing to the withdrawal of the special status accorded to the
> office of “IT Secretary” as provided under ITA 2000 rules of 25th
> March 2003.
> 5. I had immediately after the release of the above decision submitted
> a review petition on behalf of the affected parties. A copy of the
> application submitted on behalf of Gujarat Petrosynthese Ltd is
> enclosed for your reference. This is already in your files. So far we
> have not received any response from the department for the above
> review petition and hence it is in the language of Governance
> considered as “Pending”.
> 6. In view of the fact that the office of Adjudication is a continuing
> office, the review petition can be taken up by you and disposed off
> either way. Holding it without decision is like administering a slow
> poison to the affected cyber crime victims and shows the gross
> insensitivity of the system. This is similar to the way Delhi
> administration handled the infamous rape cases and the rape victims.
> 7. You may be aware that though the decision is appealable with the
> Cyber Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi, at present the victims are
> unable to force a decision in the appeal since there no “Chair person”
> has been appointed to the Tribunal since June 2011. After some time,
> the matter will therefore be put before the Karnataka High Court and
> until then the decision of the adjudicator stands to the detriment of
> the interests of the people of Karnataka.
> 8. For persons like me who have taken pride in Karnataka working
> towards being the “Cyber Security Capital” and initiated private
> initiatives for statewide Cyber Law awareness through “Karnataka
> Cyber Law Awareness Movement”, 2012 has been a frustrating period of
> Governmental inaction causing immense damage to the right of a Netizen
> in Karnataka in pursuing what is recognized as a basic human right
> namely “to be able to seek judicial redress” to his grievances.
> Action Requested:
> I therefore request you to kindly take up the review petition and come
> to some form of a decision. If you are convinced that the review
> petition is to be rejected, please convey the same with reasons so
> that we can place the reasons before a higher judicial authroity for
> its opinion.
> I hope this Makara Sankranti-2013 will usher in a new era of hope to
> Netizens in Karantaka and Netizen activists like us who are striving
> to make Cyber Space secure and habitable.
> Netizen Activist and Information Assurance Consultant
> No 37, Ujvala, 20th Main, BSK Stage I, Bangalore 560050
> M: 9343554943
> 2012/11/30 Vijayashankar Na <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
>> ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಐ.ಟಿ ಸೆಕ್ರೆಟರಿರವರಲ್ಲಿ ವಿನಂತಿ.
>> ತಾವು ಹೊಸದಾಗಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಐ.ಟಿ. ಸೆಕ್ರೆಟರಿಯಾಗಿ ಅಧಿಕಾರ ವಹಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವುದಕ್ಕೆ
>> ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು. ನನ್ನ ಹೆಸರು ನಾ.ವಿಜಯಶಂಕರ ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು ನಾವಿ.ಆರ್ಗ್ ಮತ್ತು
>> ನಾವಿಕ.ಇನ್ ವೆಬ್ ಸೈಟ್ ನಿರ್ವಾಹಕ.
>> ತಾವು ಬರಿಯ ಐ.ಟಿ. ಸೆಕ್ರೆಟರಿಯಲ್ಲದೇ, ಇಡೀ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ತಂತ್ರಜ್ನಾನ
>> ಕಾಯಿದೆ (ಮಾತಂಕಾ)-೨೦೦೦ ದ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಅಡ್ಜುಡಿಕೇಟರ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದು ಇಡೀ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಸೈಬರ್
>> ಪ್ರಸಂಗಗಳಿನ ಸಿವಿಲ್ ಪ್ರಸಂಗಗಳಿಗೆ ಏಕಮೇವ ನ್ಯಾಯಾಂಗ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳಾಗಿರುತ್ತೀರ.
>> ಹೀಗಾಗಿ ಸ್ನೈಬರ್ ಕಾನೂನು ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥೆ ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಶೋಚನೀಯ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ
>> ನಿಮಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಬೇಕಾಗಿದೆ.
>> ನಿಮ್ಮ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಅಡ್ಜುಡಿಕೇಟರ್ ರವರು ಒಂದು ಪ್ರಸಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ “ಸೆಕ್ಷನ್ ೪೩ ರಲ್ಲಿ
>> ಯಾವುದೇ ಪ್ರಸಂಗವನ್ನು ಕಂಪನಿಯಾಗಲೀ ಅಥವಾ ಕಂಪನಿಗಳ ಮೇಲೆಯಾಗಲೀ ಹೂಡುವ ಹಾಗಿಲ್ಲ”
>> ಎಂದು ತೀರ್ಪಿತ್ತನಂತರ ಮಾತಂಕಾ ದ ಸಿವಿಲ್ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳಿಂದ ಇಡಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಜನ
>> ವಂಚಿತರಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇರೆಲ್ಲೂ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಇಲ್ಲ.
>> ಇದನ್ನು ತಾವು ಸರಿಪಡಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ನಾನು ಈ ಮೂಲಕ ಅರಿಕೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.
>> ಈಗಾಗಲೇ ಈ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಒಂದು ಪುನರ್ವಿಮರ್ಶನಾ ಅರ್ಜಿಯನ್ನು ತಮ್ಮ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗೆ
>> ಸಲ್ಲಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಯಾವ ನಿರ್ಣಯವೂ ಆಗಿಲ್ಲ. ತಾವು ಈ ಅರ್ಜಿಯನ್ನು ಮತ್ತೆ
>> ಕೈಗೆತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡು ಆಗಿರುವ ತಪ್ಪನ್ನು ಸರಿಪಡಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು ಕೇಳಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.