[fosscomm] Legal options WAS AICTE Expert Empanelment
vvcrishna at gmail.com
Wed May 25 23:03:07 PDT 2011
2011/5/26 Raj Mathur (राज माथुर) <raju at linux-delhi.org>
> On Thursday 26 May 2011, Vickram Crishna wrote:
> > Is it possible to file a suit against the government, citing cases
> > like this? imho, the prayer ought to be that the government take
> > steps to ensure its citizen-facing actions, such as tax filings, or
> > applications for public positions, be open to all without fear or
> > favour. To put teeth into that 'ought', the court needs to levy a
> > penalty on the offending departments, the implication being that
> > departments that wilfully do so in the future will be liable to
> > greater penalties. The penalties can be paid into a fund, from which
> > petitioners who have suffered identifiable cash losses (including
> > penalties for non-compliance with tax directives etc) can be
> > compensated, plus payments can be made to third party vendors who
> > can work with the designated government departments (NIC, for
> > instance) to bring all government departments up to speed.
> Agreed with most of what you say. However, we must distinguish between
> two different levels of conformance with open standards, protocols and
> file formats:
> 1. Services for which there is no alternative. For instance, if it's
> mandatory to file IT returns using a proprietary format/package, then
> the case for opening up that process is critical and cannot be
> compromised on.
> 2. Services that are provided as "helpers" or "conveniences" to the
> customer. For those, the concerned department can (somewhat
> legitimately) claim that the service is accessible to everyone from the
> primary medium (mail, or going to the office, or whatever) and the
> online service is only meant as a time-saver.
> I hear what you are saying
However, 'conveniences' are meant to be just that, and not nuisances, or
discriminatory in their fundamental nature. That is, conveniences in the
execution of government business. Moreover, care should be taken not to
force persons into lawbreaking as an alternative to enormous inconvenience.
Having seen Mani's explanation (in the legacy thread)...
[From the dumb file:
Browser (Internet Explorer) Settings
PLEASE TAKE THE HELP OF YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR/EXPERT TO MAKE THE
BELOW CHANGES TO YOUR BROWSER
DEPENDING ON YOUR BROWSER VERSION, SOME OF THESE SETTINGS MIGHT BE AT
DIFFERENT A PLACE/TAB.]
...I am inclined to withdraw my comment about convenience - it certainly
does not read like one. If the effort is to discourage online participation,
this is a good example. It certainly makes it difficult to file a suit -
after all, there has to be provision of discriminatory conveniences in order
to pray for legal relief in the first place. This is more like
I reiterate my point about the national interest. There is a simple reason
for my belief, and it is not rooted solely in free software, but in the
spirit behind the movement for free software. The Union government and State
governments have created various Acts and orders in recent years intended to
curb what might be terms as socially disruptive activities, and in addition
filing cases under older laws that hark back to a colonial ruler-ruled
mindset. In practice, the laws have therefore been used to settle private
issues, and the cost to the individuals concerned is severe, as also to the
social fabric of the country. In fighting these cases (many of which do not
stand the test of time, and when they don't, they cost the national
exchequer even more, in flogging a dead horse), the country incurs financial
costs, sometimes infructuous, aside from the damage caused to the
wholesomeness of society in general.
It is about time, I feel, that we as citizens began to act proactively, and
begin pursuing cases against officers who either wilfully conduct such
antisocial activities, misusing their privileges, or by inaction, allow
damages to accumulate. Since individual officers (note: it is impossible,
given the state of our infrastructure, to term them government servants)
cannot be prosecuted, it is necessary to prosecute the action of the
department, seeking hefty financial penalties, in order to send a strong
signal to the government that such laxity is not permissible.
The suggestion that the penalties be routed via a common fund (with a
relevant purpose) is to ensure that such actions are not viewed as
retaliatory, but constructive.
If we have any kind of consensus on a matter like this, we can explore the
legal solutions available to us.
Fool On The Hill <http://communicall.wordpress.com>
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