Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Supreme Court: Government Welcomes Court Decision on 66A

Supreme Court: Government Welcomes Court Decision on 66A

Press Information Bureau,
Government of India
Ministry of Communications & Information Technology
24th March, 2015

Following is the text of the statement made by the Union Minister for Telecom & IT, Sh Ravi Shankar Prasad on Supreme Court judgement on section 66-A of IT act:

“The Union Government welcomes Hon’ble SC’s decision on 66A. When the UPA Govt came out with draconian provisions under 66A, BJP in opposition firmly opposed it and said that ’66 is unacceptable in current form’. BJP resolutely stood up against the censorship and blocking on social media done by UPA Govt.
Once in Govt, it took its opposition to the draconian provisions of 66A on record in Court Proceedings. New Affidavits filed by NDA Govt in Hon’ble Supreme Court clearly show the marked difference in the approach from UPA Govt.

NDA Govt, in what can be dubbed as a landmark moment in India’s Internet history, has accorded the same amount of freedom of speech and expression that a citizen of India is granted in normal life under our constitution by our founding fathers .

After detailed discussion with the Central Government at the highest possible level, the Central Government filed an Affidavit before the Hon’ble Supreme Court making its stand absolutely clear that the Government respects the freedom of speech and expression. The relevant paragraphs are verbatim quoted:
A. “This counter affidavit is being filed only for the purpose of assisting this Hon’ble Court and to satisfy this Hon’ble Court that the impugned Sections of the IT Act neither seeks to curtail nor the Central Government desires any interpretation which seeks to curtail any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens including the right under Article 19(1)(a) i.e. fundamental right to free speech and expression.

B. This counter affidavit seeks to point out the necessity and desirability of the provisions which are challenged in these petitions and to bring it on record that the usage of cyber space either by social media or otherwise is not even remotely intended to be curtailed either totally or partially at instance of Union of India.

C. Central Government encourages beneficial use of cyber space and the Act only seeks to regulate the use of cyberspace which would fall within any of and/ or all categories stipulated under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.

D. That the penal provisions of the Act can never be interpreted so as to take within its sweep political debate, any form of honest decent, decent humour, political satire etc. With a view to avoid possibility of any misconstruction of the expressions used in the penal provisions of the Act, the Central Government has prepared an advisory / guidelines to be strictly followed by law enforcement agencies which would ensure that the honest and legal use of cyber space does not result into any harassment to any citizen of the country.”
Thus in a layman’s language, the Government absolutely respects the right to freedom of speech and expression on social media and has no intention of curbing it. Only reasonable restrictions apply on social media, as they do in routine normal day to day life in the physical world under Article 19 (2) of the constitution of India. We will have to understand that we cannot set a different standard of Public Morality for Speech & Expression in Cyberspace from Speech in other mediums and in the Public Domain
It is important to understand that Section 66A is in several parts and only a portion of it deals with issues which can raise question of freedom of speech and expression.

During the course of oral submissions also, it was categorically pointed out that the Central Government shares the anxiety that expressions like “grossly offensive” etc. referred above may be abused at some local level. The Central Government, therefore, requested the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the said expressions be read confined to Article 19(2) of the Constitution only and to ensure that no right of any citizen is scuttled, the said phrases be narrowly tailored by the Hon’ble Supreme Court itself to obviate any possibility of any abuse of any law enforcing agency to scuttle the free speech and expression of the citizens.

There can be no parallel of our stand on this matter with that of the previous UPA regime. We have in writing confirmed that we stand for freedom of speech and expression, while the previous UPA Govt tried to make this law an instrument to curb dissent, satire and anything else which did not suit it. “

I have myself set an example by standing up for free speech and rights of a teenager recently arrested at the complain of Azam Khan for posting on Twitter and Facebook.



Nomination of Shri.M.S.Raja as a Staff Side Member of Standing Committee of National Council (JCM) – Dopt Order

Nomination of Shri.M.S.Raja as a Staff Side Member of Standing Committee of National Council (JCM) – Dopt Order

Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, PG and Pensions
Department of Personnel and Training
North Block, New Delhi,
Dated: 19th March, 2015
Secretary, Staff Side,
National Council (JCM)
13-C, Ferozeshah Road,
New Delhi – 110001

Subject: Nomination of member of Staff Side in the Standing Committee National Council (JCM).

Kindly refer to your letter No. NC-JCM-2015 (Nomination) dated 26th February, 2015 on the subject above cited above. The nomination of Shri.M.S.Raja as a Staff Side Member of Standing Committee of National Council (JCM) vice late Shri.S.K.Vyas has been approved by Secretary (Personnel) as Chairman of the Standing Committee of National Council (CJM).
Yours faithfully,
Director (JCA)
Source: NFPE

7th pay commission calculators give imaginary answers

7th pay commission calculators give imaginary answers

There is lot of calculators available in blogs and social media to calculate pay and allowance of 7th pay commission. People who saw these calculators wonder ‘did the 7th pay commission submit its Recommendation to the Government?’. OMG… When did the 7th pay commission submit its report to the central government? The Babus started enquire about these calculators from everybody who are in Federations and Associations. Even they don’t know how the pay scales would be recommended by 7th pay commission? How much percentage of increase the 7th pay commission would recommend in its report? But calculators do keep coming in day to day basis. Does it worth to calculate our basic pay through this so called 7th pay commission calculators?

Everybody should understand that to review and recommend the revised pay scales for 30 Lakhs Central Government employees is not a joke. It is just more than serious business.
The 7th pay commission comprises many Bureaucrats and many officials headed by renowned Supreme Court Judge, require more than 18 months’ time to interview hundreds of officials from Departments / Ministries and Representatives of Unions /Federations to get their views. The whole team of the 7th pay commission has to handle huge volumes of data to analyse the Service Condition and Socio Economic Conditions of the government servants before it start to recommend Pay and Allowance to entire community of the central government employees. The pay commission while recommending revision in pay and allowances has to take into account various factors like the economic conditions in the country, the resources of the Central Government and the global economic scenario as well as the impact upon the finances of the States, if the recommendations are adopted by them.

To recommend revised pay scales for 30Lakhs Central Government Employees is indeed an arduous Journey to perform. The 7th Pay commission, since its constitution, is doing commendable job. The Commission issued a Questionnaire and invited comments for their questionnaire invariably from government organizations, unions/ federations and from the Public also. Federations and Unions and Govt organization have been asked by the pay commission to submit the Memorandum to the commission.

The Seventh pay commission engaged with a variety of stakeholders, on issues which it has been mandated to cover, through series of Meetings from 16-6-2014. The Commission so far held 235 Meetings in 38 days from the Month of June 2014 to February 2015 with various Association/ Federations/Unions and Representatives of Ministries/ Departments. They have to go through all the inputs received from the above sources. All the Federations and Associations have been meeting with the 7th pay commission for the past eight months submitted their views and proposals to the commission. Since the federations, who knew their service conditions and department issues very well, have come across many pay commission, they would have discussed about their service condition and their departmental specific issues with 7th pay commission and discussed about their expectation over pay and allowances. So the only reliable source to tell anything about the Pay commission’s perspective is Pay commission officials or those who met with them. But none of them come forward to say anything about the views of 7th pay commission and never disclosed anything about the Pay Structure since they are not supposed to do so.

But so many 7th pay commission calculators keep coming in blogs. Did the Calculators do anything said above before it was made? Have these so called 7th pay commission calculators taken all the above factors in to the account before it was made? The Principles Applied for revising pay scales in each pay commission was entirely different. But, as for as sixth pay commission is concerned, the pay Structure itself was entirely different from previous Pay Structures of last 5 pay commissions. All the Unions, Associations and Federations have insisted 7th Pay Commission, through their memorandum, that the Running Pay Band and Grade Pay system to be dropped and Pre Revised Pay scale system to be adopted. So until now nobody knows what would be the principle to be adopted for revising pay scales for 7th pay commission? And what is the pay structure that 7th pay commission would recommend?

Read at: Gservants

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