Wednesday, June 13, 2012

[HumJanenge] Anonymous India to use RTI in fight against Internet censorship

Mr Sarbajit,
Are you part of this "Anonymous" group.....?

Anonymous India to use RTI in fight against Internet censorship 

*New Delhi:* After a spate of attacks on  a number of Indian websites and a ground protest event on June 9, that  evoked lukewarm response, hactivist group Anonymous Operation India has  chosen the Right to Information Act (RTI) as the latest tool in their  battle against Internet censorship.
Anonymous India is urging Indian citizens to file RTI  applications to seek information regarding the correspondence of public  servants with Google, Facebook or other websites on content censorship.  Anonymous India says they will collate the information and use it "in  even more powerful ways." But did not venture upon further details.
This phase called 'Operation RTI Engaged' is a part of many  initiatives planned by the hacker collective in their effort to force  the Government of India rethink its Internet censorship strategy.
Full text of Anonymous Operation India's letter to the citizens of India*
June 12, 2012
Dear Citizens of India,
We are Anonymous. We are engaged in a fight with your government  to fight their evil schemes of gaining control of our internet. We will  not allow this. We will not allow those who do not understand the  internet to mangle our rights in their futile attempts at the  impossible. Content on the internet cannot be wiped out for those who  want to see it and content on the internet must not be made to fit the  idea of agreeable for a few powerful people.
People of India, we have been watching. We have been noting the  perversion of freedoms to the point where barriers are increasingly  restrictive. The politicians whose websites are primitive for the  previous decade are deciding from their ignorant perches how the  internet of today must be. Their lack of understanding of how content is  shared, spread or accessed on the internet makes their restrictive  plans ridiculous for any criminal who actually would want to bypass  those restrictions, while they serve to keep the common man ignorant of  anything they do not wish them to know.It is time to expose this  ignorant intolerance for what it is.
It is time to expose the kinds of blocks on free expression that  our leaders have silently constructed and to hold them accountable for  their subversive attempts at spreading intolerance and disinformation,  while suppressing information that shows themselves in bad light.
It is time for a new phase in Operation India. And in this, we need your help.
It has come to our attention that beyond the draconian laws that  let orders be obtained from courts to silence parts of the internet,  beyond the anti-freedom IT Rules that allow anyone to censor the  internet for any reason, there are people in powerful places sending  orders to websites to censor content of their own wish. While our laws  are increasingly shaped to silence people, the actions of these people  are beyond such unconstitutional laws too. They are not legal requests,  but ones made at will using their influence to force compliance.
We will be unraveling all anti-free-speech actions in due time,  and the step for now is to file RTI applications for the correspondence  of every public servant to obtain all records of communication with  Google, Facebook or any other websites with respect to censoring  content. This should be done in creative ways to obtain the most  information. Ask for all communication to or other creative  questions like other email addresses used by a public servant if they do  not use their official addresses, which is one way of avoiding them  being recorded as documents in their official capacity.
These RTI applications should be filed for any public figure you  can think of. After you have filed the RTI, you should inform us about  it, so that we can maintain a list to make sure efforts are not  duplicated and each effort makes a significant contribution. When you  receive the documents from the RTI reply, we will make them public. Stay  tuned for the next phase of our operation, which will use these  documents in even more powerful ways.
We see it. We are watching.
We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive those who would steal our voice and ears.
We do not forget the betrayals of those who should serve us.
The government should expect us.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Re: [HumJanenge] Oppose the colonial practice of taking the luxury leave by the Odisha Information Commission

In such matters statutary Rules need to be framed & notified to the public so that people in general
are not put to inconvienience.No such long leave as summer vacation need be allowed.
The Rules should deal with matter relating to leave,office opening & closure,holidays dress for staff &
C I C / I Cs & like matters.

On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM, Pradip Pradhan <> wrote:

Oppose the colonial practice of taking the luxury leave by the Odisha Information Commission


Odisha Information Commissioners have arbitrarily taken Summer Vacation leave of 18 days  flouting the law of the land.


Dear friends,

On 1.6.2012,  I had  been  to  the office of  Odisha Information  Commission to submit 14  Complaint cases  against  some Public Authorities. But I found that the hearing of the cases by the Information Commissioners has been suspended  up to 17th June ,2012  due  to the so-called Summer vacation. In my pursuit to know   the facts, I met the Registrar of the Commission who confirmed that the court of the Commission would remain was closed upto 17th June. I got  terribly  disappointed having  heard this news  and  wondered how could  the Information Commissioners  take  such a long  summer  vacation leave when pendency  of  thousands  of cases  is staring in its face. It needs to be mentioned here that due to inefficiency of Information Commissioners and their unacceptable practice of prolonged hearing over certain cases, more than 10,000 cases are pending in the office of the Commission as of today. 


Another question haunted me,  is there any legal provision or precedent for a quasi-judicial body like Odisha Information Commission to take summer vacation leave. Immediately, I dialed to Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner to know about summer vacation leave if any taken by Central Information Commission.  On my query, he laughed and said that he had never heard  a word like "Vacation" in the Commission. He further explained that the High Court and Supreme Court do of course take the Summer Vacation leave, but that is not allowed to any quasi-judicial body like Information Commission. The Information Commissioners are entitled to take leave  on their own. But  there is no such mass leave like summer vacation, he said.


As regards the practice followed by other quasi-judicial bodies  of Odisha, I rushed  to the office of Odisha Human Rights Commission and then to State Commission for Women which are located  close  to the office of Odisha Information Commission. When enquired as to   whether the Commissioners have ever gone on summer vacation leave,  the staffs of both OHRC and SCW replied that  there is no such summer vacation leave in their offices. They however admitted that they used to take a few days leave during the Raja festival, which is also a local festival in coastal Odisha.


Since formation of OIC in 2005, the information Commissioners  have been  functioning arbitrarily and adopting anti-RTI procedures   in several ways i.e,  disposing the cases without hearing, not-imposing penalty on defaulting PIOs, maintaining dubious nexus with corrupt officials, using red light car ( it was dropped due to protest), making correspondence with the semi-literate persons in English,  filing defamation  case against the RTI activists, misappropriating huge money allotted for awareness programme and above all overglorifying the quasi-judicial Commission as a Court.


Summer Vacation leave is nowhere in practice in any office of a Quasi-Judicial Body. As a matter of fact, it is a colonial practice on the part of the Odisha Information Commission  to enjoy holidaying  at the cost of the state exchequer.  Civil Society Groups and RTI Activists  in Odisha  have  been demanding  for the Commission to afford more  time   for quick disposal of the cases. But, instead of increasing their working hours to this end, the Information Commissioners have taken an arbitrary leave  for 18 days in the month of June. Further worrisome is the fact that they would draw full month's salary, though they would work only for 12 days in the month. Such an act of summer vacation leave goes against the 'principle of no work, no pay'.  

If  the salary  and allowances against the 18 days leave is calculated , all the three Commissioners have together  eaten away a huge sum of money  i.e. Rs.2,88,000/- from the state exchequer. The calculation has been made as follows- 


Mr. Tarun Kanti Mishra

Chief Information Commissioner

Rs. 6,000 per day approx. x 18 days

1,08, 000.00

Mr. Jagadanand

State Information Commissioner

Rs. 5,000 x 18 days


Mr. Pramod Kumar Mohanty,


Rs. 5,000 x 18






It needs to be mentioned here that  the Information Commissioners have been following a queer practice of suspending hearing on every Saturday, which is not followed anywhere in India. Under the circumstances, in order to do justice to the State exchequer  the above amount of money should be deducted from the monthly salary and allowances due to the Commissioners for June 2012. The question rises, why should the Information Commissioners illegally grab such huge sum of money  without  giving any service to the State nd its people. It needs to be further mentioned here that the Information Commissioners are maintaining a pompous  life style, each taking around Rs. 2 lakh per month  towards  their salary and various allowances.  In defense, they may refer to to the provision of the RTI Act, but the question arises, where does the Act authorize them to grab salary and allowances from taxpayer's money without rendering commensurate service for 18 days at a stretch? 

Last but not least, I appeal to Civil Society Groups  and Media persons to stoutly protest against the nefarious, self-aggrandising and illegal practice of the Commission which would further  degrade the RTI regime  in the state.



Pradip Pradhan


Date- 5.6.2012