Status of Cyber Appellate
Cyber Appellate Tribunal
(CAT) is an important judicial authority in India as it happens to the
sole appellate authority for all the Adjudicating officers established
in India (one in each State and Union Territory) as well as the
Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA). At present there are several
cases pending at CAT including a few on which judgments have been
reserved. There are another 20 odd cases in different Adjudicating
offices which potentially may be referred tot he CAT on appeal.
Additionally, the proposed new Bill for Privacy Protection which is
expected to be placed in the Parliament during the next session has
named the same CAT as the appellate authority under that Act also.
The criticality of the CAT
as a pivot for delivering justice to all contraventions coming under
Information Technology Act 2000 is well known.
CAT is headed by a
Presiding Officer/Chair Person appointed by the Ministry of
Communications and Technology in consultation with the Chief Justice of
India. The Chairperson has to be necessarily a person who is qualified
to be a Judge of a High Court in India.
The first Presiding
officer of CAT was Honourable Justice Sri R.C.Jain formerly of the Delhi
High Court who was appointed on October 4 2006. After his retirement,
honourable Justice Sri Rajesh Tandon formerly of the Uttarakhand High
Court assumed office from February 25, 2009.
The term of the current
Presiding officer of Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CAT), Justice Sri Rajesh
Tandon expired yesterday the 30th June 2011 due to his attaining the age
of superannuation. Though the contractual term of the appointment of Sri
Rajesh Tandon is yet to expire, the rule of super annuation has
intervened to cut short his tenure.
Government does not appear to have taken timely action either to appoint
a substitute in place of Sri Tandon or to extend his term before his
As a result CAT will
technically be closed from today until a new incumbent assumes office.
In the mean time the fate
of pending cases is unknown. There are a few cases in which the judgment
is reserved and hopefully the new incumbent would deliver the judgment
after he takes over.
The website of CAT as of
July 01, 2011 however still shows that Sri Rajesh Tandon is the
Presiding officer. The site is perhaps not updated and needs correction.
[In the meantime it may also be pointed out that the CCA site shows
information about CAT which is incorrect and needs to be corrected. This
site states that "Cyber Appellate Tribunal has been established under
the aegis of the Controller of Certifying Authorities" (CCA). The
correct fact is that CCA is subordinate to CAT. CAT is the appellate
authority to CCA. This also needs correction].
(Please see screenshots here)
CAT is a statutory body
and administrative support is provided by the MCIT. The appointment of
the Presiding Officer is done by the MCIT but in consultation with the
Chief Justice of India. During the last one month, Naavi has drawn the
attention of the MCIT, the President of India as well as the Chief
Justice of India that non appointment of a Presiding officer before 30th
of June 2011 would result in a judicial void in delivery of Cyber Crime
related justice. However the preoccupations of the MCIT perhaps have
prevented any final decision in the matter.
We hope a suitable
decision will be taken at the earliest and the void will not remain for
In the meantime Naavi.org
records its good wishes the outgoing as well as the incoming Presiding
1st July 2011
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