The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said the states should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s 9th January advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials
The Supreme Court today said that no person should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials.
The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said the state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s 9th January advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.
The apex court was hearing an application seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting objectionable comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The Section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.
The petition was also filed regarding the arrest of a Hyderabad-based woman activist, who was sent to jail over her Facebook post in which certain ‘objectionable’ comments were made against Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah and Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan. After filing of the petition, she was released by a district court at Hyderabad. Jaya Vindhayal, the state general secretary of People's Union for Civil Liberties, was arrested on 12th May under Section 66A of the IT Act for the ‘objectionable’ post.
If Aadhaar is not mandatory and the customer does not want a LPG cylinder at the subsidised rate, then why did this distributor of Bharat Gas in Hyderabad block his name?
A consumer is entitled to receive nine liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders per family per year under the subsidised quota. After this rule came into force, one would have thought that at least the consumer would easily get his cooking gas cylinder. Unfortunately, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has different plans. It has launched an ambitious direct cash transfer scheme to dole out subsidy directly into user's bank account. Only hitch was this account must be linked through an Aadhaar number. What everybody forgot was even today, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the body responsible for the Aadhaar numbering scheme, says that its UID is not mandatory.
The UPA government is trying to link Aadhaar-enabled service delivery to various government schemes such as MNREGA wage payments, PDS distribution, payment of social security benefits like as old-age payments and distribution of LPG cylinders. This is being done without taking stock of the ground level infrastructure and practical difficulties.
Here is a glaring case of a Moneylife reader, who was denied a LPG cylinder despite showing readiness to buy it at the market rate. Strangely, the LPG distributor blocked his connection for not providing Aadhaar number. Here is the first person account of the reader...
“I have two LPG connections—one in my name and the other in my wife’s name. Both the connections for single cylinder each are from Bharat Gas and from the same distributor in Hyderabad.
Some time back when the government announced plans to eliminate duplicate gas connections, I approached my distributor asking what to do. He asked me not to worry now and approach him in case there was a problem. At that time, nothing happened. I was able to subscribe to LPG—however, I used only my connection.
Later on in January-February 2013, it was announced that Aadhaar would be required to avail the subsidy. Having read the articles on UIDAI and Aadhaar in Moneylife, I decided not to apply for the Aadhaar number and was ready to buy LPG without subsidy. However, I never needed to buy a cylinder then.
In April 2013, I shifted my residence. For this, I had to approach the distributor to change my delivery address. I was informed that my connection was blocked due to duplicate connections. The distributor asked me to visit him again after a few days. I visited him later but was informed that the connection was blocked again. I had to visit his office thrice.
Finally the fourth time, when I visited his office, there was a new person. He informed me that I needed the Aadhaar number to unblock my connection. I said that I had come earlier and was never told so. He still asked for an Aadhaar number. I said that Aadhaar is required to get the gas cylinder at subsidised rate. And since I do not have Aadhaar number, you can charge me the non-subsidized price and provide me a gas cylinder. He replied saying since these are the rules, I had to provide the Aadhaar number else I would not get the LPG cylinder.
I told him that according to rules, when there is a duplicate connection KYC should be done and two single connections should be converted to a double connection on the same address. He was still adamant about Aadhaar number. I asked for the address for the consumer service cell. He pointed me to a board (bit far away—inside the office). When I went closer to have a look he asked me to read it from outside saying that I was not a VIP (to enter inside). I said that it was not clear—how can I read? (On 25 October 2012, the petroleum ministry decided to allow multiple connections and introduced one more price category called non-subsidized non-domestic exempt-NDEC, which is about three times the subsidized residential price.)
I tried to locate the consumer service cell but could not find it. Looks like I visited the wrong street. I had to visit it again. I then lodged complaint in Public Grievance Forum and BPCL's Feedback page (sadly it accepts only 500 characters on the complaint page). I tried to call the toll free oil companies number—1800 233 3555. There I was informed that Aadhaar number was required in Andhra Pradesh for availing a LPG cylinder while in other states it is required to avail the subsidy on LPG cylinder. I tried to reason with him that Aadhaar is required only for subsidy and nowhere I have read about it is being required to avail LPG cylinder. But that was not helpful.
To my knowledge, Aadhaar is required only to avail the subsidy. In either case consumer has to pay the full amount. If the consumer has a Aadhaar number, then subsidy is directly credited to his linked bank account. This does not mean that consumer cannot buy LPG cylinders or change his address.
I do not want to apply for an Aadhaar card. I will try visiting the consumer service cell again and see what response I get.
Here is the update:
I approached the customer service centre on Saturday and they have helped me out in availing LPG without an Aadhaar number. The only downside is that I cannot avail the subsidy. I am OK with it as my LPG consumption is rather less.
Once I visited the office, I spoke to the sales manager for the region. He then spoke to the distributor asking him to allow me to change my address and convert my two single connections into a single connection with two cylinders.
However, based on my experience with the distributors the following still needs to be improved on:
1. For new connections, it is mandatory to buy gas stoves or other things from the distributor. In addition, these are priced exorbitantly. I have had issues with my distributor which were resolved after intervention of Bharat Petroleum.
2. Though much is being said about LPG portability, I cannot see how this will help. For any oil marketing company (OMC) there is only one distributor in a given region. Thus if one wants to port, he will have to switch to another OMC's distributor in the same region. I wonder how will this benefit the consumer as the service quality is same, prices are same, goondaism of the distributors is also the same.
You may also want to read…
Never-ending woes of LPG consumers
Is Aadhaar being used as a political tool by the UPA government?
LPG quota: Mockery of subsidy reduction efforts or unadulterated politics?
Total jewellery demand rose 15% to 159.5 tonnes from 138.3 tonnes, while investment demand increased by 52% to 97 tonnes from 63.8 tonnes, WGC said
Gold demand in India, the world’s largest consumer, rose 27% to 256.50 tonnes in the first quarter of the calendar year 2013, according to data from the World Gold Council (WGC).
Demand for the precious metal stood at 202.1 tonnes during the same quarter last year, it said.
“Gold demand in India for both jewellery and investment continues to remain strong. Price fluctuations in gold recently have only served to reinforce Indian consumers’ appetite for purchasing physical gold,” WGC India managing director Somasundaram PR told reporters.
He said gold is a time-tested asset class which has helped preserve the wealth of Indian families for generations.
“With the ongoing wedding and festive season, we believe that demand for gold will continue to remain robust,” he said.
In terms of value, WGC said in its latest report that gold demand in India during January-March period of this year increased by 32% to Rs72,899.4 crore against Rs55,148.7 crore in the year-ago period.
Total jewellery demand rose 15% to 159.5 tonnes from 138.3 tonnes, while investment demand increased by 52% to 97 tonnes from 63.8 tonnes.
About 21 tonnes of gold was recycled during the quarter under review against 25 tonnes in the same quarter last year, the report said.
Global demand fell 13% to 963 tonnes as strong growth in consumer demand for gold jewellery, bars and coins was exceeded by substantial net outflows from gold ETFs, it said.