Kapil Sibal was the villain for Cyber Crime Victims

Mr Kapil Sibal who was the minister for IT in the UPA 2 Government is seeking election from Delhi Chandi Chowk which is going to polls on 10th of April 2014. Though this site is not a political site and I keep my political opinions to a different forum, I would like to bring to the notice of all that Mr Kapil Sibal was singularly responsible for all the cyber crime victims of India to be denied justice for last two years and voters  need to remember this disservice while voting for him.

It was way back in June 2011 that Justice Rajesh Tandon retired as the chair person of Cyber Appellate Tribunal, Delhi which is the apex appeal court supervising the decisions of the Adjudicating officers of all States and Union territories who form the trial court system for civil disputes for all Cyber Crimes and offences under Information Technology Act. (ITA 2000/8).

Though it was known that the position of Chair person would become vacant, Mr Kapil Sibal did not take any action to fill up the vacancy in time before the retirement.

Since then Mr Kapil Sibal tried to recommend one particular person for the post and when the Chief Justice of India asked for alternate recommendations, refused to send alternate recommendations.  He even kept one Jutice Mr S.K.Krishnan wait for 9 months in the Tribunal without giving him the necessary authority to take up cases. Even when Courts issued notices on the delay, Mr Kapil Sibal gave a political reply that the appointment will be completed expeditiously but never took any action to fill the vacancy. All this was done so that the person whom he favoured alone becomes the Chair Person. He was arrogant and adamant to keep the Court shut since the Chief Justice did not agree with him.

As a result, several judgements which were on appeal in this court including the appeal of ICICI Bank Vs S.Umashankar, Gunashekar Vs PNB, Vijaykumar Vs PNB, Rajedra Yadav Vs ICICI Bank, Gujarat Petrosynthese Vs Axis Bank were all held up in various stages of decision.

To compound the problem, the adjudicator of Karnataka Mr M.N.Vidyashankar gave a bizarre judgement annulling the entire Information Technology Act to benefit Axis Bank and his decision remained effective because the Cyber Appellate Tribunal was not functioning. Even Karnataka High Court failed in recognizing the impact of this biased decision of Mr Vidyashankar virtually shutting all legal remedies of Cyber Justice to cyber crime victims in Karantaka. The Government of Karnataka failed to take any remedial action.

The details of all these developments have been documented in this site in many of the earlier posts.

Thus Mr Kapil Sibal trying to post one favoured individual as the Chair person of Cyber Appellate Tribunal virtually shut off the Cyber Justice system in India. Any number of appeals to people lime Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Chief Justice of India etc failed to see any action and Cyber Crime victims of India have remained  cursing the system. By the time the next Government takes charge and remedies the situation, many of the victims would have grown old and lost interest in fighting for justice.

I sincerely wish that the voters of Chandni Chowk Delhi make Mr Kapil Sibal  pay for their misery of the cyber crime victims by voting against him.


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BWSSB website account suspended?

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board website www.bwssb.org appears to have been offline. There is an error message which says “Account Suspended”.

What this may mean is that the board has failed to renew the domain name.

Hope the chairman looks into this and corrects the same so that online payments can be made by citizens.

This reflects poorly on the E Governance system in Karnataka.

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E Registration of Rent agreement

It is reported that IG Maharashtra has introduced a system of E-Registration of Rent and Lease agreements.

See Report here

“It is necessary for the people to provide their Aadhaar card. The people have to pay and stamp and registration duty through net banking. The duly fulfilled forms will be later sent to the sub-registrar and after his verification, the digitally signed leave and license agreement would be delivered to the inbox of the applicants “

It is unclear how this new procedure is viewed under ITA 2008 according to which “Any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property” is excluded from the provisions of the Act including the legal validity under Section 4 and 5 of ITA 2008.

If “Leave and License Agreement” has the effect of transfer of interest in an immovable property and “Registration” is  mandatory for the transaction to be valid, then rendering any of these documents in electronic form may not have legal validity.

The detailed process needs to he reviewed to understand how this process works.


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Why ECI is hesitant to allow E Voting for NRIs?

Way back in 2010, voting rights were granted to NRIs in India. However it is required for NRIs to physically be present in India to cast their votes. This is practically impossible and hence the so called voting rights to NRIs is a myth.

Presently e-voting has been resorted to under Company’s act and ITACT2000/8 has provided a legal base for e-voting long time back. In fact the EVMs itself is a kind of e-voting mechanism where the voter’s choice is captured in the form of an electronic document, retained and processed as electronic documents, all under the provisions of ITA 2000/8.

It is therefore not logical for ECI to refuse digital signature based voting for  NRIs. Unless ECI is facing opposition from the ruling Congress party for such a move under the fear that it may benefit the BJP, there is no reason why this system should not be introduced in the next Loksabha elections.

Probably ECI can set up a centralized digitally signed e-voting system and make it available to all voters whether in India or abroad to cast their votes through a valid digital signature issued by an Indian licensed Certifying authority.

In the least, this facility can be offered to the NRIs who have no other option.


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Maharashtra Adjudicator defines CDR as “Sensitive Personal Information”

In an interesting case decided by the Maharashtra Adjudicator Mr Rajesh Aggarwal, compenation of Rs 18 lakhs was granted to a client against the Bank (ICICI Bank) and the Mobile Service Provider(Vodafone) in a phishing case.

The case was handled by advocate Prashant Mali and Naavi.org congratulates Prashant for his excellent work.

Report in TOI

Copy of the order

The case involved issue of a duplicate SIM by Vodafone with a false photograph and hence the Mobile Service Provider was also made a party.

There are many similar cases with other adjudicators including one in Kolkata.

We hope that Banks and mobile companies in future agree to compensate the victims without subjecting him to the hassles of the litigation.

Further, the judgement also categorically ruled ICICI Bank and Vodafone “Negligent” for not following appropriate security measures. Further the adjudicator acknowledged the plight of cyber crime victims and held out an advice to the DIT on the non appointment of the chairperson for CAT. In the process the adjudicator  has also considered the customer data in a mobile company as “Sensitive Personal Data”.

Considering all these factors, this judgement may be considered as another landmark judgement and both the adjudicator and the advocate who pleaded the case must be congratulated.

Probably adjudicators of other states need to take a lesson from Mr Rajesh Aggarwal.

Hope Karnataka IT Secretary is listening!


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Abolition of Personal Income Tax

A discussion has now ensued in India about the possibility of personal income tax being completely abolished if BJP comes to power. This proposal though is in the initial stage of discussion and yet to be adopted into the manifesto of the party for the forthcoming Loksabha elections, has already evoked lot of interest both from the economists and politicians.

There is no doubt that the proposal will be received well in those markets where AAP is gaining strength and hence it is a good political policy. However what is also required is to discuss the proposal from the point of view of it’s economic impact.

The undersigned welcomes the move for its revolutionary potential to reform the tax regime in the country. At the same time it is felt that some collateral measures would help in making the proposal work to long term benefits to the economy.

A good perspective on the subject is found in First post which is worth reading.

It is estimated that the current revenue from direct taxes in India is of the order of Rs 250000/- crores.  If therefore the proposal has to be given a serious concern, there has to be counter measures to offset this revenue loss.

It is also expected that if the proposal is introduced,  there will be an increase in the inflow of funds from professionals and businessmen to the Banking sector. (It is expected that the abolition of IT would presently be in the non corporate sector).

It is stated that 99% of the tax payers contribute insignificant amounts to the revenue kitty. It is only the top 4 lakh persons who contribute to the revenue in a significant manner.  Hence the abolition if it comes through will provide relief to early 4 crore voters in India who need not file IT returns. The current regime of Mr PC is obsessed with expanding the tax base and hence has built up a large number of irrelevant tax assessees. These are also the persons who feel harassed when IT officials raise needless queries on trivial transactions. The enormous saving in manpower arising out of leaving the 4 crore assessees from the tax bracket would add to the productivity of the economy.

One suggestion that is being discussed to offset the loss of revenue is an “Expenditure Tax” where a Bank customer would be taxed on the amount of “Net withdrawals from the Banking system”. However such a proposal would be counter productive since it will bring back the problems to the assesses in a different manner. It is therefore better if no such expenditure tax is considered. However there would be some increase in the demand for manufactured goods and an increased inflow in the indirect taxes.

In such a scenario, there would be a need for placing some incentives for public not to spend indiscriminately and adding to inflation. It would therefore be essential to encourage public to retain funds in the Banking system itself. An interest rate regime based on the volume of deposits can encourage increased savings accumulation in the Banks and avoidance of an incentive to have multiple bank accounts and carrying of benami accounts. What this means is that interest rate surcharge is paid to the depositors on the basis of deposit slabs. Eg: Deposits over Rs 1 lakh  will have an incrementa interest of 0.25% over and above the rate otherwise payable. Similarly deposits abo r Rs 5 lakhs can be paid a higher interest of o.5% etc.

At the same time, Banks need to invest the increased funds in a productive manner. For this purpose it would be advisable that the Government/RBI initiates some action on channelising Bank funds to the manufacturing sector by incentivising lending for Capital Expenditure on a long term basis. In other words, term loans for 5+ years to the manufacturing sector need to be encouraged. This can be done by providing some SLR/CLR exemptions based on long term lending to manufacturing sector.

Such a move would also provide a push to the stock markets particularly to the manufacturing sector besides banks.

In summary, abolition of Income Tax is exciting. At the same time some changes in the Banking sector would make it even more exciting.

I wish the think tank of BJP considers such additional proposals for Banking sector reform along with the proposal for abolishing the income tax.



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