|Tuesday, February 8, 2000,
games on computer an offence?
NCP to contest 190 Bihar seats
No ban on taking part in RSS
Vajpayee to launch campaign from
Kalyan ouster may cost BJP dear
Law-breakers hope to be law-makers
Fresh scrutiny of Cong mens
Probe may open Pandoras box
Inter-State Council reconstituted
Memorial meeting for T.N. Kaul
Card games on computer an
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 Playing a leisurely game of cards on computer could land you in jail. Beware.
Almost all computers come with card games as part of the operating system package. And, if you try to delete these games, you could still land up in jail.
You are caught in a catch-22 situation with the police empowered to arrest you on "reasonable suspicion" that you were gambling or using a pirated operating system.
Such are the provisions of the Information Technology Bill that you find yourself in a helpless situation, legal experts say. However, the saving grace is that the Bill is still in the drafting stage and the government has given an assurance that it will incorporate all positive suggestions before moving it in Parliament.
"Certain procedural provisions will be challenged before the courts as being violative of the right to life and liberty and to privacy," said a criminal lawyer, Mr Tejas H. Bhatt.
Clause 79 of the Bill states that "the clause empowers a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or any other officer of the Central or state government to enter, search and arrest any one who is reasonably suspected to have committed any offence under this Act."
And, if the "reasonable suspicion" is wrong, you will get your equipment back and be released. However, you will have no remedy for the damage caused.
Section 55 of the Bill states that "no order of the Central Government appointing any person as the Presiding Officer of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in manner and no act or proceedings before Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner on the ground merely of any defect in the constitution of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal."
Further, the police officials have little knowledge about cyber crime and are ill-equipped to detect these.
Admitting that the Delhi Police was not adequately prepared to detect cyber crime, Police Commissioner, Ajay Raj Sharma said, "We are training a few police officers to understand cyber crime, but I must state that today we are not adequately geared up to meet the challenge the crime of 21st century."
Mr Pavan Duggal, President of the Cyberlaw Association, said the Bill appeared to have taken into consideration those cyber crimes which appeared possible now or were already existing.
"With the growth of Internet, cyber crime is also likely to proliferate and new kinds of crimes in cyberspace will come to light. However, the Bill does not seem to give scope for this," Mr Duggal said.
Moreover, the territorial jurisdiction of the adjudicating officer and also the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribune had not been clearly defined, he added.
The government, introducing the Bill, stated that the provision would boost e-commerce in the country and the country would become a major IT super power in the coming decade.
Mr Duggal said, "the Bill talks of promoting electronic commerce and it begins by excluding immovable property from the ambit of the e-commerce a reasoning which defies logic."
The proposed Act does not apply to negotiable instruments as defined under Section 13 of the Negotiable Instruments Act; power of attorney as defined under Section 1A of the Power of Attorney Act; a trust as defined under Section 3 of the Indian Trust Act; Section 2 of the Indian Succession Act; and any contract for the sale or conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property.
The Bill talks about the use of electronic records and digital signatures in government agencies. However, it does not confer any right upon any person to insist that the document in question should be accepted in an electronic form.
"The Bill seeks to bureaucratise the entire process of controlling e-commerce. This is likely to result in delays and other related problems," Mr Duggal said.
The Bill has dealt with a few legal issues related to the growth of e-commerce. The government should bring about changes in private laws, copyright protection on the net, domain name disputes, unauthorised hyperlinking, meta-tagging and other related issues, if e-commerce was to take off in a big way in India, Mr Stephen Mathias, a Supreme Court lawyer said.
Despite these and other
drawbacks, legal experts said the Bill was a good
beginning by the government to promote e-commerce. Many
more such steps were needed within cybertime (three
months is one year in cybertime) for India to really make
an impact in the e-commerce arena.
NCP to contest 190 Bihar seats
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (UNI) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will contest 190 seats in the Bihar Assembly elections.
Announcing this at a press conference today, party general secretary Devendranath Dwivedi said it will contest 40 of the 60 seats in Manipur, 32 in Haryana and 30 in Orissa.
NCP Bihar chief Satish Kumar has been fielded from Asthawan and former minister Shambhu Saran Thakur from Kanti.
He said though the Communist Party of India was "very much interested in an electoral alliance with the party but it had to comply with the wishes of smaller partners.
Commenting on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayees defence of the decision of the Gujarat government to lift the ban on government employees joining the RSS, Mr Dwivedi said it was surprising that the defence had come from a person like Mr Vajpayee.
The decision of the Gujarat Government was "a step backward, he said and added the ban should continue.
About the decision of Defence Minister George Fernandes to ask the Central Vigilance Commission to probe all defence purchases since 1985, he said his party welcomed transparency in public life but it should not be used to cover up or to ward off debate on allegations of irregularities.
He said the government should make it clear if the decision to ask the CVC to probe the deal was that of the Union Cabinet.
He decried the tendency of groups taking the law into their hands in the name of defending the Hindu faith or Varanasi culture.
He said Varanasis reputation as a seat of learning and culture was under no danger of erosion or attack and it needed no defenders of faith as its reputation stood on firm ground.
The critics, he said
were free not to see the film if they did not like it but
should not dictate its contents. "I appeal to the
people of Varanasi not to encourage trends which would
amount to a self infected wound, he added.
No ban on taking part in RSS activities: CM
LUCKNOW, Feb 7 (PTI) Amidst the raging controversy over decision of the Gujarat Government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta today said that his government would not take any action against state government officials taking part in RSS activities as there was no ban on it in the state.
"The officials of the state government are not barred from participating in the RSS activities as it is just a cultural organisation and not a political outfit, he said.
"The ban on government officials is on joining any political party", he told reporters here.
The interpretation that the RSS had political leanings was a matter of discussion that could be left to the courts, the Chief Minister said adding Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee too had clarified this.
Answering a question whether there was any government order banning the state officials from participating in such activities, Mr Gupta replied in the negative saying he had no knowledge about any such order.
Vice-President Mayawati had warned the state government
against taking any Gujarat like step allowing the
officials to take part in the RSS activities, saying the
state witnessed frequent communal tensions and any such
move would further aggravate the communal situation.
Vajpayee to launch campaign from Bihar
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (UNI) Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee will kick off his campaign for the ensuing Assembly polls in four states on Wednesday with the first stopover in Bihar.
In Bihar, he will address rallies at Jamshedpur and Bokaro. He would again visit Bihar during the second phase of elections, party spokesperson M Venkaiah Naidu said.
Mr Naidu said Mr Vajpayee would tour Orissa on February 10, addressing public meetings at Sambalpur and Rourkela..
Sonia to visit Orissa, Bihar
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi would visit Orissa tomorrow, and Bihar the day after, and address a series of election meetings.
In Orissa, she would address election meetings at Koraput, Kotpad, Bhawanipatna and Belgaom, party spokesperson Anil Shastri said.
Kalyan ouster may cost BJP dear
GANGOH (Saharanpur), Feb 7 The result of the seven elections in Uttar Pradesh, two of which fall in western Uttar Pradesh, is likely to cast its shadow on the fate of the BJP government in the state.
The byelections in the two constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh Nukkar (Saharanpur district) and Thana Bhawan (Muzaffarnagar district) are important for the BJP government as western Uttar Pradesh had proved to be a citadel of the BJP in the last Assembly poll. But since then, much water has flown under the bridge. The ouster of former Chief Minister and BJP stalwart, Mr Kalyan Singh, is likely to have far-reaching impact on the results.
For one, Mr Kalyan Singhs ouster from the BJP, has created an impression among the backward classes that the BJP is the party of "upper and swarn castes" only. His exit has also consolidated the backward votes against the BJP.
So far, the voters in the two constituencies of Nukkar and Thana Bhawan are inscrutable. The campaigning is at a very low pitch. There are very few loudspeakers and flags of different parties are rarely seen on house tops.
However, people came out openly against the failure of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. Allegations were made that the government had failed to live up to the expectations of farmers, employees and backward classes. It was accused of not creating more avenues of employment. Muslims seem to be unhappy and there was resentment among teachers.
A visit to the Nukkar constituency indicated that even the BJP rank and file is upset over the allocation of ticket to Dr Sushil Chaudhary, the Lok Tantrik Congress candidate. BJP workers had thought that the Nukkar seat would be allotted to a BJP candidate. The anger of the BJP workers was visible when the Lok Tantrik Congress candidate opened his office at panchayati dharamshala in Gangoh. Nagar mandal office-bearers of the BJP were not present at the function.
Furthermore, the backward classes and the Vishwa Karma Samaj have extended their support to Samajwadi Party candidate Shagufta Ali. Allegations are being levelled that a conspiracy was hatched by Mr Kalraj Mishra, Mr Lalji Tandon and Mr Rajnath Singh, all from the upper caste, to oust Mr Kalyan Singh, who belonged to a backward caste.
Mr Pradeep Chaudhary of the Lok Dal led by Mr Ajit Singh is also active in the area. The Lok Dal is out to cash on the discontentment prevailing among the Muslims, Gujars, Sainis, Kashyaps and backward class.
There is no wave as yet in favour of any candidate. The constituency is dominated by Muslims, Gujars, Sainis and Kashyaps. The Muslims are upset with the BJP because of the recent passage of the religious endowment Bill by the state Legislative Assembly.
There is a fair chunk of Sikh voters also in the area. The Sikh sentiments have been hurt because of the self-immolation by a Sikh youth in front of the state Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow.
The Jankranti Party of Mr Kalyan Singh has not made its presence felt in the area so far.
The elections are to be
held on February 17. The district administration has
issued instructions to ensure free and fair poll. It has
been ordered that weapons of all people living in a
radius of 5 km from the constituency should be taken
away. It has also been ordered that not more than three
cars should follow the caravan of any candidate. The
district administration has also ordered that meetings of
peace committees should be held at each village.
Vananchal within 6 months: Mahajan
RANCHI, Feb 7 (UNI, PTI) Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said today that the separate Vananchal state would be created within six months.
Talking to newsmen here, Mr Mahajan said the Centre would table the Bihar State Reorganisation Bill, 1999, seeking the creation of Vananchal, alongwith the legislations for other two states of Uttaranchal and Chattisgarh, in the Budget session of Parliament, provided it received the consent of the Bihar Legislature by May.
Otherwise the legislations would be brought in the monsoon session or if needed by convening a special session in June, he stated.
The BJP was committed to the states creation and there should be no doubt about its integrity, he added.
Mr Mahajan, here to campaign for the NDA nominees, claimed that the people of Bihar were all out to oust the ruling regime in the state and install an NDA government.
The BJP senior leader said the NDA was heading for a landslide victory in the state as the people had realised that it was the NDA alone, which could provide a positive direction to the state and fulfil the peoples long-standing aspiration for Vananchal.
He said out of the states going to the polls, only in Manipur the alliance was facing a semblance of a contest.
Complete seat adjustment in Bihar had left the desired impact on the voters, who had realised that the days of the "ineffective and corrupt" regime in the state were numbered, he opined.
Mr Mahajan also said the review of the Constitution is a "healthy exercise" and the Opposition, instead of criticising should welcome it.
The review, he reiterated, will "not entail meddling with the basic structure of the Constitution."
"I cannot understand why the Opposition is making such a fuss over the issue... for effecting any change the NDA government will need two-third majority in both Houses of Parliament," he said.
committees had been set up in the past during Congress
regimes, one with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at its head and
another led by Swaran Singh during the tenure of Indira
Gandhi, he said, adding "but now that we (NDA) are
doing it the Congress smells something fishy."
Escalator tragedy: AAI blamed
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (UNI) The committee that investigated the death of a girl in an escalator at Delhi airport has blamed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for not supervising and monitoring the maintenance of the escalator and failure in incorporating some latest safety features which were necessary in view of the significant increase in passenger load.
Jyotsna Jethani, who had arrived from Dubai, died after being trapped in the escalator while going down to the immigration hall at Indira Gandhi International Airport on December 12. Four others were injured.
The three-man committee, chaired by retired Secretary R.C. Jain, said in its report submitted to Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav today, that authorities at the airport did not even know the location of the emergency stop switch, the timely activation of which could have avoided the accident.
"The reaction of various functionaries AAI officials, engineering and medical staff, including the police personnel, etc. present on the accident site was inadequate and lacked sensitivity in handling the situation".
The report said the maintenance of the escalators was not at all being done in a satisfactory manner. The quality of work being done by the manufacturers, Otis, was not up to the mark, it noted.
The high-level committee, set by Mr Yadav on December 22, said the escalator had been in service for the past 14 years. It was not upgraded to incorporate some latest safety features which were necessary in view of upgradation of technology, experience and significant increase in passenger load.
It also noted that the treatment meted out to the relatives of the dead girl of the injured was inadequate.
The committee which also included Mr R.K. Narayan, a former Chairman of the Power Grid Corporation, and Mr J.N. Roy, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, examined 38 witnesses, including the manufacturers. In its final report to be submitted by March 31, the committee will give recommendations for systematic improvement at airports.
Shah has money in Swiss banks
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (PTI) The Delhi police has so far detected eight bank accounts, including some in Swiss banks, and about a dozen properties in India of retired Wing Commander Satnam Shah, who along with his daughter, was arrested last week for allegedly possessing over 150 kg of charas, a top police official said today.
"We have so far detected eight bank accounts, including some in Swiss banks, of Shah and about 12 properties, most of them owned by him," Joint Commissioner of Police Amod Kanth told PTI today.
The properties so far detected include two properties in Vasant Kunj in South-West Delhi, two in Patpar Ganj in East Delhi, three in Mangalore, one each in Mumbai, Pune and Gurgaon, he said.
Law-breakers hope to be law-makers
PATNA, Feb 7 (UNI) They broke the law with impunity. Yet the law-breakers are now dreaming of becoming the law-makers as history-sheeters dominate the Assembly poll scene in Bihar.
Even jail birds have an easy access to the electoral fray blowing all democratic norms to the wind.
While alleged underworld don of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and undertrial prisoner Rajan Tiwari, at present lodged in Beur Central Jail, filed his nomination as an Independent candidate from the Govindganj Assembly constituency, historysheeter Upendra Singh is the Congress candidate from Ichagarh constituency in West Singbhum district.
Tiwari is an accused in the murder of CPM legislator Ajit Sirkar, while Upendra Singh has 13 criminal cases against him, ranging from murder, attempt to murder, extortion and possession of illegal arms.
BJP nominee from Ichagarh constituency, Malkhan, alias Arvind Kumar Singh, sitting MLA, is facing no less than four cases, including that of attempt to murder.
In Jamshedpur (West) constituency of east Singbhum district, Syed Naushad, alias Ram Chandra, was contesting the poll as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate against whom the local police had listed out 19 cases. He is facing umpteen charges, including murder, attempt to murder, extortion and possession of illegal arms and was even booked under the Explosive Substances Act, 1992.
Both Upendra Singh and Naushad are said to be close associates of fugitive don Hidayatulla Khan of Jamshedpur, whose name figured in the Bombay blast case.
JMM (Mandal) candidate from Jamshedpur (West) Banna Gupta is facing a host of charges, including attempt to murder, while JMM (Soren) nominee from Jugsalai constituency Dulal Bhuiya, sitting MLA, is facing nine criminal cases, including murder and attempt to murder. JMM (Soren) candidate Krishna Mardi, former MP from Potka constituency, had been chargesheeted in four criminal cases of which two were attempts to murder.
Vijay Singh Soy,
contesting as the Congress candidate from Kharsawa
Constituency in West Singbhum district is facing at least
12 cases, including murder. Only a couple of months ago,
he was accused of killing a BJP leader in Chakradharpur.
Fresh scrutiny of Cong
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 The Election Commission today ordered fresh scrutiny of nominations of two Congress candidates, one each from Safidon and Hassanpur (Reserved) following a mix-up of official and cover candidates.
The Congress had decided to field Mr Kamal Sharma from Safidon and Mr Uday Bhan from Hassanpur but the letter allotting the official symbol got attached to nomination papers of Mr Bachhan Singh and Mr Ram Prakash, respectively.
"The Election Commission has reordered the scrutiny tomorrow and had asked the Haryana Pradesh Congress President (HPCC), Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, to be present at both places, an official said.
Apparently, the HPCC which had earlier given the letter to cover candidates had rescinded the same but somehow the official candidates did not get the symbol.
Probe may open Pandoras
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 The ordering of an investigation by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) into all major defence purchases since 1985 could well open a Pandoras box, revealing close links between service officers, bureaucrats and defence dealers.
Over the past decade and a half there have been a number of defence deals which have created a controversy. While there have never been direct allegations of "kickbacks" having been paid, enough fingers have been raised at various points which suggest the contrary.
Agents were banned from defence contracts even in 1985 by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, but they have in fact "flourished" since then. It was then that the controversial contract for 210 Bofor guns was signed.
Another of the deals signed during his tenure the purchase of MiG-29 fighter aircraft from the then USSR could well catch the eye of the CVC. The two squadrons of MiG-29, planned as the frontline combat squadrons are now just for combat air patrolling (CAP).
The Rs 1845.03 crore contract for the purchase of aircraft from MiG-MAPO, approved by the government in November 1985 and signed in September 1986, has several grey areas. Not only was there a delay in the supply of the aircraft, but as a result of the problems which they had, the Indian Air Force had to cut down its operational and training requirements.
Above all, of the total 188 engines supplied by manufacturers to the IAF, as many as 139 had to be withdrawn by July 1992 itself. There were problems in operations and maintenance mainly because of the premature failure of engines, components and systems.
Even though the manufacturers admitted that the engine failure had been due to defects in its design, the then government took no action. The manufacturers were not even penalised for it, for which there is always a clause in the contract.
As many as 115 engines
were sent back to the MiG-MAPO for repairs at an
additional cost of Rs 1.47 crore per engine. By the time
the aircrafts returned, they were no longer fit for
ground combat and the IAF had to alter its use to that
Inter-State Council reconstituted
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (UNI) The standing committee of the Inter-State Council was reconstituted formally today with Home Minister L.K. Advani as Chairman.
Besides the Chairman, the standing committee has 13 members.
The Union Ministers are Mr George Fernandes (Defence), Mr Yashwant Sinha (Finance), Mr Jaswant Singh (External Affairs), Mr Murasoli Maran (Commerce and Industry) and Mr Suresh Prabhu (Chemicals and Fertilisers).
The other members are
Chief Ministers Jyoti Basu (West Bengal), N. Chandrababu
Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), M. Karunanidhi (Tamil Nadu),
Digvijay Singh (Madhya Pradesh), Farooq Abdullah (Jammu
and Kashmir), S.M. Krishna (Karnataka), P.K. Mahanta
(Assam) and Parkash Singh Badal.
Memorial meeting for T.N. Kaul
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 A memorial meeting to pay homage to former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador T.N. Kaul is being organised by Dr Manmohan Singh, Chairman, Governing Body, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh, at India International Centre, at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister, Jammu & Kashmir; Dr M.S. Gill, Chief Election Commissioner, Dr Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister; Mr Alexander Kadakin, Ambassador of the United Russian Federation to India; and Dr Kaplila Vatsyayan, Chairman, Board of Trustees, IIC will speak on the occasion. T.N. Kauls latest publication History and Prospects of India-China Relations will also be released.
bag short story prizes
75 held for
5 asphyxiated to
Plan to reduce
govt employees in MP
school to see film shooting
hurt during panchayat poll
Girl set ablaze
Ahmed joins BJP
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