Citizens' Issues
Facebook case: SC seeks explanation from Maharashtra on girls' arrest

The apex court asked state governments of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Puducherry to file their response within four weeks

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances under which its police arrested two girls from Palghar in Thane district for posting comments on Facebook on the 18th November shutdown for Shiv Sena leader Balasaheb Thackeray's funeral, reports PTI.


"The Maharashtra government is directed to explain the circumstances under which the two girls - Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan - were arrested for posting comments made by them on Facebook," a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J Chelameswar said.


The bench asked the state government to file its response within four weeks on the public interest litigation filed by a Delhi student, Shreya Singhal.


The bench also made as parties the governments of West Bengal and Puducherry where similar incidents had happened in the recent past.


It also issued notice to the Delhi government along with them and sought their response within four weeks and posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.


Attorney General GE Vahanvati, whose assistance was sought by the court, said, "Please examine section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and I will assist the court on this issue."


The AG also referred to the guidelines which say that cases to be registered under the provision of the IT Act has to be decided by senior police officials of the ranks of DGP (Director General of Police) for cases pertaining to rural areas and IGP (inspector-general of police) for metros.


"This can't be done by the head of the police stations," the AG said, adding that this was a matter which required the court's consideration.


Meanwhile, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Shreya, sought a direction from the apex court that no cases be registered across the country unless such complaints are seen and approved by the DGP of the state concerned.


During the hearing, the Attorney General said that the arrest of the two Palghar-based girls was unjustified but it does not mean that section 66A should be done away with as the provision was well intended.


Rohatgi said that the provision of the IT Act, which gives power to arrest, is "wholly unconstitutional" and needed to be done away with.


"The provision is unconstitutional. Of course, it would be decided by the Supreme Court," he said, adding that a direction to all the states was required that no case be registered under this provision unless the complaint is seen and approved by the DGP concerned of the state as "the law and order is a state subject and unless there is some kind of order from this court, this (abuse of the provision) may not stop."


There are thousands of police stations in the country and, hence an order from this court is needed, Rohatgi said, to which the bench said that all police stations are not alike.


Meanwhile, some other civil rights group and NGOs submitted to the court that they be also allowed to intervene as parties to the ongoing hearing on this issue.


"Not only one section, there are other provisions of the Act and the rules which are unconstitutional," Prashant Bhushan said, while seeking to intervene as a party.


Rohatgi said, "I have no objection if a person is allowed to intervene..."


On Thursday, while agreeing to hear the public-interest litigation (PIL) seeking amendments to the IT Act, the bench had said, "The way the little children were arrested, it outraged the sentiments of the people of the country. The way these things had been taking place needs consideration."


The petitioner, Shreya, in her plea, has contended that "the phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards, that it is susceptible to wanton abuse and, hence falls foul of Article 14, 19 (1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution."




4 years ago

Duration - 3 mins
Film - Facebook Fuss (Edited & Directed by - Parimita Barik)

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The spread of Social Media and its access have raised a number of questions and posed challenges, socially and legally. The argument is that uncontrolled access to Social Media by minors could cause various kinds of problems -innocent and impressionable minds may be affected, cheated or compromised in certain ways. It may provide unsupervised access to facts and other kinds of information that minors are too young to properly evaluate and make decisions on. Is this indeed the case? If it is, are legal, technical and social mechanisms available to help parents and minors make appropriate decisions on accessing social media? Given that mobile devices are all-pervasive, how can such controls actually be implemented?

Is it possible for the Indian Government or its instrument agencies to regulate who opens an account on a web site. There are thousands of places that ask for user data. People open accounts everywhere all the time. FB is just one kind of social media platform. Is it possible for the Government to demand enforcement on such? And how? How can we check the credential of whoever is creating an account?



4 years ago

Law by definition, happens to be ‘a rule or system of rules recognized by a country or community as governing the actions of its members’, while justice, simply put, is ‘the administration of law in a fair and reasonable way’. Apex court’s considering taking suo moto cognizance of the recent arrests and the observation that the court wondered why nobody had so far challenged the particular provision (contained in Section 66A) of the Information Technology Act points to the catastrophic phase our country’s architecture responsible for dispensation of justice is going through.
In the absence of a will to administer law in a fair and reasonable way, guidelines from government and rulings from court will have limited potency. This ‘will’ should come as a credible message from the highest level. It will be next to impossible to make laws mischief-proof.

Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

Is it not the duty of Magistrate to verify applicability of rules and section and maintainability of such application.In Mumbai cases magistrate seems equally at fault.Remember Gujarat magistrate issuing arrest warrants against President Mr Abdul Kalam and Chief Justice Mr V N Khare. The condition in courts is very much abysmal here.

Indian retail investors tend to lose in stock markets: ISB

The ISB study found that about 20.2 lakh individual retail investors in India consistently chase a zero rate of return on their stock investments when they make decisions themselves

Retail equity investors in India systematically lose out to other categories of players because they sell the winning stocks too quickly and hold on to the losing stocks too long, reports PTI quoting a study.


The study by Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) found that individual retail investors in India, numbering 2.02 million - largest in the world - consistently chase a zero rate of return on their stock investments when they make decisions themselves.


The study attributed the recurring losses to these types of investors to the 'disposition effect' (selling the winning stocks too quickly and holding on to the losing stocks too long) and 'overconfidence' (taking credit for good decisions and attributing bad decisions to luck) for three categories of investors separately.


The study by Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) was conducted under the leadership of Sankar De, Executive Director at the Centre for Analytical Finance, ISB.


It is based on the daily trade data of 2.5 million retail investors (given by NSE) who collectively carried out 1.4 billion trades, with a total value of Rs37 lakh crore between January 2005 and June 2006, and is touted as the largest sample used in an empirical study in behavioural finance.


"We estimate that individual retail investors lost close to Rs83.76 billion during the sample period of 18 months, from January 2005 to June 2006, or Rs55.84 billion per year," De said while releasing the report here today.


These losses are equivalent to 0.77% of the country's gross domestic savings a year, said the study titled 'Do retail investors in India make rational investment and portfolio decisions?


The findings are based on the NSE data during the period and looked at the behavioural biases, investor performance and wealth transfer between investor groups.


"The total number of investors who traded at least once during this period is 2.5 million, or 0.22% cent of the population. Put differently, 0.22% of the country's population lost 0.77% of the total gross domestic savings during this period," De said.


The figures are just the trading losses and do not include commissions, taxes and market impact losses, he added.


The co-authors of the study, funded by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs foundations, are Bhimasankaram Pochiraju, Naveen Reddy and Rahul Chhabra.


Other studies have documented that trading losses capture only 27% of the total losses for individual investors.


Assuming the same proportion of trading losses for domestic investors, the total losses for them would be around Rs 207 billion, or Rs 82,800 per investor a year, De said.


The study only looked at the secondary market trade conducted by individual retail investors.


De said, "An analysis indicates that retail investors increase both buying and selling if their trades in the recent past are marginally profitable or barely in the positive territory, and decrease them if they are unprofitable or in the negative territory, ignoring transactions costs.


"Since on an average they lose more than they gain trades of the retail investor end up being value-destroying for themselves and beneficial for institutional investors, who are usually more informed as well as more rational."


Staying away from the market at a distance is the right way for investors - implying investing through mutual funds or other platforms could trim losses, he said.


What makes retail investors behave this way? The answer lies in two powerful behavioural instincts. "One, their approach to valuation of their investment options is based on feelings rather than careful calculation under which, what matters is the presence or absence of a stimulus, in this case profits, but not the size of the gains (losses).


"The second reason is the compelling influence of zero as a goal. The distinction between positive and negative numbers is of fundamental importance to human thought processes in many areas, not just investments," he said.


After India, China is home to largest number of retail investors at 1.66 million followed by Finland (1.3 million), US (1.24 million) and Japan (1.17 million).




4 years ago

The broad index the SENSEX has risen from 6555 to 10609 during this period, a gain of 62%. On an average a person would gain 62% in value on a balance portfolio without making any trading during this period without considering the dividends during the interim. Thus the actual loss due to frequent and unnecessary transactions are much greater.


4 years ago

Yer betcher a Kalmadi or a Raja. !!! If somebody makes a profit, it means somebody else made a loss.

Two SpiceJet pilots argued over who should land first

The pilot of SpiceJet flight from Delhi contacted the ATC, saying the Hyderabad flight pilot was arguing with him over landing. In the process, the two aircraft came at a distance of 3,100 feet though they were in the required vertical separation limit

Mumbai: Putting the safety of around 160 passengers at risk, two SpiceJet pilots allegedly got into a verbal fight over who should land first, reports PTI quoting sources.
The incident had occurred on Thursday at around 7 pm when the Indore ATC cleared the Delhi-Indore flight of SpiceJet for landing. Around the same time, the airline's flight SG 1053 Hyderabad-Indore was also on the approach but was to land after the Delhi flight.
"However, the pilot of the flight from Delhi contacted the ATC, saying the Hyderabad flight pilot was arguing with him over landing. In the process, the two aircraft came at a distance of 3,100 feet though they were in the required vertical separation limit," sources added.
There were around 160 passengers on-board at the time.
SpiceJet spokesperson was not available for comment.



Shashikant Koppikar

4 years ago

I am a retired pilot. At the out set, let me say unequivocally that if indeed a pilot of one flight was arguing about the landing priority with another pilot, it amounts to gross indiscipline in terms of communication procedures. The "aggrieved " pilot should have lodged a protest with the Air Traffic control, preferably after landing.
Having said that, the reporter's/ editor's intention behind stating that the" aircraft were at a distance of 3100 feet, but they were within the required vertical separation limits" is not understood.
Thank God the usual cliche about " 160 passengers on board had a miraculous escape " has not been used. Unless the precise wording and the length of the arguments between the pilots is known, the source and the reporter is guilty of sensationalizing something which may or may not amount to risking flight safety.

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