Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Gag off, bloggers plan legal step

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 21, 2006

Gag off, bloggers plan legal step

New Delhi, July 20: Bloggers are working on plans to file a petition
against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for blocking blog sites.

Faced with an avalanche of national and international criticism, the
government today asked the ISPs to provide unhindered access to
blogging sites.

In a notice to the ISPs, it said it had only asked them to block
certain anti-national web pages, not entire blog sites. The Centre
threatened to take action against the ISPs if they failed to open up
these sites.

Bloggers, however, said they would legally target the ISPs as well as
the government for denying access to sites.

Sarbajit Roy, a blogger on the popular web site Blogspot.com, which is
among the sites blocked for over a week now, is spearheading the

He said: "We plan to file a petition seeking compensation from the
government for wrongfully denying access to legitimate blogs by ISPs."

Indian bloggers are forming a legal coalition to fight the case, he
said, adding that the ISPs were "unlawfully denying bloggers access to
some of the popular blogging web sites".

In its letter to the ISPs, the department of telecommunications said:
"It had come to notice that in some cases the parent web site had been
blocked in contravention of what was stated in its earlier order dated
13th July 2006 whereby it ordered the ISPs to block certain web
sites/web pages." The department has sought an explanation from the
ISPs why other web sites were blocked.

Bloggers are filing incident reports with the government's Computer
Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In), specifying how they have been
affected. They will need to establish the quantum of damages in each

A petition is expected to be filed in the Supreme Court, claiming
damages of up to Rs 1 crore each on behalf of the affected bloggers
who have registered with CERT-In.

Pavan Duggal, a Supreme Court lawyer, said bloggers have remedies
under Section 43 of the IT Act, which covers unlawful denial of

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