Government pulled up for laxity on e-mail use policy

Last Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 19:34

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday pulled up the central government for its laxity in coming out with a notification on a national e-mail policy for official communication.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul warned the government of "coercive action" if it keeps on delaying the e-mail policy despite the court order.

"You don`t want us to take any coercive action. Do you?" the bench said after Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra told the court that a meeting of the committee of secretaries will be held in three weeks.

"It is unfortunate you take so much time to do such small things," the court noted. "I don`t know why you keep blaming the politicians. Look at the bureaucrats, they are forming one committee after another."
The bench also asked a responsible senior officer to be present in court to indicate the government`s response on the issue.

The court`s remark came on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K.N. Govindacharya. He sought direction to the central government to bring in an e-mail policy for government officials in consonance with the Public Records Act in order to bar transfer of data to a server outside the country.
The central government Oct 30 told the court that it is on the verge of finalising the e-mail policy for government employees, and has sought opinion from various ministries on it. The court then granted it four weeks` time.

Petitioner`s advocate Virag Gupta said that despite the court`s direction, top officials of the IT and communication ministry are still using private e-mail IDs, posing a big security risk.

The petitioner alleged that officials were also using social networking sites and other e-mail accounts with service providers, whose servers were outside India, for official communications instead of the government server of the National Informatics Centre (

The plea added that the use of e-mail accounts whose servers were outside India and transfer of nation`s official data using this medium violated the Public Records Act.

The court would next hear the case Feb 19.


First Published: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 19:34

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