Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Is Net Neutrality an issue in India?

What is net neutrality?
To start with a very basic definition, ‘Net neutrality is the equality of all data traffic in the internet by a service provider’. To elucidate, data coming from different sources of the internet is not discriminated, no matter what it contains, where it is going or who sent it – all data packets are treated equally.
To ponder over it more, the application of this idea lies herein that, internet service providers cannot favour certain different websites and/or throttle traffic to other sites. Providing differential speeds on the same framework for different payments also constitutes a violation of net neutrality for that is then, again, discrimination of data.
How is Airtel violating net neutrality?
Airtel, has been the centre of the net neutrality controversy in India ever since it advocated the same in the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona in 2012. Since then, the Google partnership in 2013 for free access has stirred the controversy, with TRAI taking a diplomatic stance on the same. Google, had however advocated a neutral net strongly endorsing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s ‘Open Internet’ policy. Now, however, Airtel has gone a step further to exclude VoIP services from its usual data plans and charging extra for the same, later pulling it off due to impending TRAI consultation. Airtel, and other operators are advocating charging sites like YouTube, Twitter for the revenue they are generating through the ISPs, whilst inputting a meagre capital into the market; the ISPs rely on the argument that the sites are generating revenue because the ISPs are putting in capital towards the enhancement of network infrastructure whilst getting a disproportionate profit – the profit goes to the content providers. So, they demanded a share of the revenue.
Situation of law relating to net neutrality
Unlike the USA, India has an outright absence of law on the subject. USA provides the FCC to regulate the broadband services via Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, 1996 while however, their original ‘Open Internet’ rules had been declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court pursuant to the decision in Verizon v. FCC. In India, even though there is still no existing law or TRAI regulations on the matter, there are some important points to consider. Firstly, Bharti Airtel Ltd. is a consumer service provider and Bharti Infratel Ltd. is the telecom infrastructure provider, so the former should not concern itself with network infrastructure revenues in the first place. Secondly, Bharti Airtel, being a data provider, has a Universal Access Services License, which includes voice services and the internet – what is done over the internet is not their concern, whether VoIP or social networking. This unwarranted use of ‘deep packet inspection’ then again brings in the threat of privacy of data into the picture – why should Airtel concern itself with what you are seeing and how you are seeing? This discrimination of data and throttling of data is in a violation of the free speech enshrined in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Pursuant to the decision in Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh, it is possible to subject private juristic persons to within constitutional purview without including them in the definition of State as in Article 12 if they perform a public duty, which maintenance of communications surely is. The ISPs should not be the gatekeepers of the internet and decide who you say what you say by blocking your lawful site – that is a fundamental blow to the foundation of how companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter came into being; startups will be destroyed having to lobby for different ISPs, like starting a new channel on TV with the same effect that charging a share of the revenue of the content providers will bring.

Airtel reported a 73.8% surge in mobile data revenue to ₹1,805 crore this FY, up from last year – indicating they are growing at a rate more than enough with net neutrality being in force without having to go all unethical.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Goddess Durga!

Well, here comes a post after a long time. I'll keep it relatively short as I hardly have much to write. However, the length does not imply importance; a one line post in this blog is also of utmost significance in my heart.

Now, this is the time of the year we Bengalis celebrate the most - Durga Pujo time! :D

Now while this time is a time to celebrate, rejoice and relax for all, it carries along with a great significance and a message from time immemorial. This time is the time of Goddess Durga. Durga has been described as  the Annihilator of all evil, the slayer of 'Mahishashur', the king of the Asuras. Durga is the 'Mahishashurmardini', 'Viswavinodini', 'Paramashakti' - the greatest of all goddesses. Now what do even all these mean? Well, straight to the point, the day of Vijayadashami celebrates Durga Maa's victory over Mahishashur, firmly advocating that no matter how much evil prevails, good has the last laugh.

Well, leaving the mythology associated aside, let us notice, Bengal mainly worships women goddesses - Durga, who is the main goddess and hence has the biggest festival of the year as her puja, Lakshmi, Saraswati and the like. What the Durga Pujo tradition implies is that women are supreme and the pillars of justice, conscience and good morality. It establishes the concept of 'Eternal Feminism' [1]. It speaks out loudly that the power of women cannot be altered by a group of men - no man, no government, and no system can suppress women. No matter how much valor a man has, or how much strength he has, a woman will always have to be his moral guardian. Women are the idols of modesty, purity, morality, delicacy, compliance and reticence - and this is the eternal truth. It is to be noted that while the virtues of men are public - strength, valor and the like, the virtues of women are private, and they serve as a moral guardian to ensure peace and security; to stand as the guardian angels of the city looking from way above what any man can - from a societal, moral and spiritual perspective.

I shall talk about one more thing here - Mahalaya. This is the reading of the 'Chandi' when Maa Durga descends to Earth. The Chandi is a very powerful and deep scripture and goes on to tell the story of Durga. The Chandi states about the two aspects of the feminine - a seductive aspect, and a motherly aspect. The latter is glorified in the scripture as depicting Durga as the mother goddess of all - the savior of mankind, the destroyer of all evil. She governs the cosmos and protects her children from evil just like a mother would. Coming to think of it, evil is everywhere - from the streets to the tall posh buildings one can see around. There is no place left for evil to spread. The promise of a world without evil is far from possible, and that is precisely what the scripture states. Durga Maa will be there watching you, like a guardian angel who will not let one small scratch fall on her little baby.

So, talk about women empowerment and Bengal is right there staring at you since mankind learnt to write. The reading of the Chandi reminds Bengal, and the world of that. Women are to be respected, if not because I tell you to, then because Durga Maa will be really really angry on you. And what does she do when she's angry? Yes, she kills evil emperors.


[1] Frances Nesbitt Oppel, Nietzsche On Gender: Beyond Man And Woman

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Issue of Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice has been a hotly debated issue, at least with respect to India. The Indian masses have largely been portrayed to be not satisfied with the laws governing the juveniles.

Aims of Criminal Law

So, let us ask fist ourselves, what is criminal law? How is it different from civil law? Now, it is pertinent to note that the Indian Contract Act, 1872 assumes that a minor is incompetent to contract except for the case of basic necessities where he can be held liable to pay. In the context of criminal law, the fundamental question of criminal law arises as to what it seeks to achieve. Merely seeing the crime and not the offender's environment will lead to a judgment bas in society[1], even if that is what the society demands. The majority opinion may always not be the correct opinion. So it has been agreed upon by many that the crux of the difference between civil law and criminal law lies in the social condemnation the latter carries with it[2].

Reformation vs. Punishment

Reformation seeks to look into the offender more than the crime, and punishment, or imprisonment, looks at the crime without looking at the offender. While leaning on both the sides is dangerous and carries unforeseen consequences, But in my opinion, one should rely more on the former as in a tender age a child is more prone to believing what he is taught without questioning much of it. Reformation promises more good than punishment.
Justice that law gives is punishment; justice that love gives is surrender. 
- Mahatma Gandhi
So, what in my opinion should be done, is that, for all offences, a child might not be knowing the consequences of his act. For it seldom happens that one fine day while you're having breakfast, your mom will tell you, "My dear son, please do not rape women. It is bad.". It grows inherently as a moral conscience that watches over men when they drool on women.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is inevitable to state that juveniles should be protected under the law. One or two offenders should not be the reason for a hundred innocent to be imprisoned. Reformation looks into the root of all evil, to eradicate the reason behind the criminal behavior in society, and can promise us a better future than punitive justice. However, what needs to be looked into, is the question, "Can this child be reformed?"



1. Henry M. Hart Jr., The Aims of the Criminal Law, 23 Law and ContemporaryProblems 401-441 (Summer 1958), available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol23/iss3/2
2. Ibid.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Very less, very very less.

I've been a grumpy old man recently. And, yeah, I haven't written much. I have so less to say now.

The world is a weird place - they condemn the good and praise the wrongful. Why? Because, simply, being bad is the norm. When someone acts bona fide really good to someone, people have to question his motives as to why he is doing so. This deters genuine people from being genuine. Like, literally.

Yeah, that's all for now. I'll return in a while. Just to say things to someone. Next post will not be disappointing, I promise.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Law governs all.

From my personal experience in recent times, I have saw that respect for law and order has been decreasing in recent times drastically. Enforcement of law is feeble, and the respect for law has been declining exponentially in the past few years. When the majority of people disobey the law, the ones following the law are laughed upon - because they are outcasts in the society.

There are times when society is wrong, when the majority opinion is wrong - and this is one such time. What society and people want today is instant justice, bypassing all rules and orders at any level so that their voice is heard. But the rule and procedures had been drafted carefully after centuries of refinement, and have been made close to perfection as far as possible. If there is a rule for something, there is a cause behind it. For example, right to strike is generally not enshrined in Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution, except for in the case of Indian Industrial Jurisprudence - and the very fact that an intimation has to be given to the concerned authorities for the same is because of the fact that negotiations can take place before the strike and there is only a strike when all available measures have been exhausted. But, however, people, generally tend to strike to pressurize the authorities even for small causes, when the do not have a standing, instead of keeping it as a last resort - for, yes, anarchy is the norm.

Law abiding citizens are hard to find today - for those who follow the law are breaking social norms. Lawlessness is the standard, and an individual cannot do anything about it. Disregard for laws and rules comes generally when people compare themselves to revolutionaries, and are swayed by a great vision - a vision great to themselves. This mindmap of getting everything one wishes for is a huge menace to society at large, for if revolutions take place everywhere without a law controlling them, there would be only be a downfall of society and nothing else.

This brings me to present to you two different perspectives - one section of society remains silent even when their cause deserves a civil war. But everything happens peacefully. Why? Because they follow the law. Another section of society protests and demonstrates for small causes - for example hike in salary when millions of people are penniless. There is a lot of agitation and disturbance. Why? Because they override the law.

Fighting for a cause is fine as long as it conforms to the law of the land, and not when people lose respect for the law as a means to achieve their goals. For what would have happened if the Indian public just overthrew the Congress Government because they demanded someone more worthy as a leader and put BJP in place after the revolution? Disaster. Sheer disaster. Everything has a procedure, and every citizen of India is bound to follow it - whether their implementation is correct or not. Disregard for laws is just not cool.

- A law abiding citizen

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

CLAT time again!

So its CLAT time of the year again, and yes, as usual, people have their flames of curiosity waiting to be doused by satisfactory explanations that they seek. I shall try to address some here.

Number one on the list comes a post by Mr. Rajneesh Singh here, the product head for CLAT at IMS Kolkata, that DSNLU is not an NLU. Different people reacted very differently, and most of the times points were not listened to. My explanation was arguably heard properly amongst them all, and can be found here. However, he never took back his words even after accepting what I had said was correct, and that DSNLU is indeed an NLU deserving the same status as any other NLU that is existing in the Indian territory. I would humbly urge anyone reading this post to go read his post, and my reply to it for a clear understanding of both sides of the debate. All in all, the DSNLU team and others did a good job of removing misconceptions existing in the young minds. 

Then comes the fact that, is this NLU worth joining? My personal approach to this question is guided by the saying "A university does not make the students, but the students make the university". So, yes, you have to work hard to land up a decent job or a flourishing practice if you study from any college in India. Sure, studying in NLSIU, NALSAR and the like will give you a huge extra boost, but that doesn't mean you'll be a beggar if you pass out from any of the other newer NLUs. It is all dependent on your hard work for them all - you ultimately have to show what you are capable of, not live on what your university is 'supposed' to make you like. It is all a matter of personal choice, and I never regret being a part of the DSNLU family, even after leaving NLUs like CNLU, NLU-O, NUSRL, NLUJAA and even HNLU for the matter.

So, you see, no matter how much the name of something is, it is upon you to utilize it and take it to new heights. NLSIU and NALSAR are enjoying the status because their previous batches proved themselves to be at par with the International standards of legal education. Striving for excellence is not an option but a fundamental necessity of any student in any stream - not just for any NLU or the law stream. One can only have the authority to criticize when they can prove themselves to be better; you can say NUSRL is bad, or DSNLU is bad only when you have the capability to prove yourself beyond what the best boy of the college is capable of.

The other thing to be highlighted is the hatred. Yes, the hatred. The upper NLUs cannot stand the lower NLUs - they look down upon them like the students have come from such academic backgrounds that they are not capable of doing anything in their life. But, thought doesn't change the fact that India gains more assets from the lower NLUs, while people from upper NLUs work to fulfill other countries' requirements, for example, doing a job in the prestigious 'Magic Circle' - because why not? When a father spends all his life savings trying to get his son a degree from a good college, will the son work for humanity or will he be driven by money? No matter what you say, in 99% of cases, it is the latter. The NLU culture is very different from the IIT culture. The upper IITs are always ready to lend a helping hand to the lower IITs so as to live upto their IIT brand name. However, the inter-NLU conflicts often disregard the NLU brand and bring down the whole system altogether by providing as little co-operation as possible between colleges - no NLU really helps another one. Till this culture doesn't change, and no harmony is reached there will be no plain simple answer to "Why should you join an NLU?"; for conflicts bring nothing but war. And, well, war? War is only between the powerful with the commoners being the only casualties.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Supreme Court and the love!

So, well, hello. Today, I'll tell you about my internship. Pretty straightforward. This time, in May, I interned under Mr. Saurabh Ajay Gupta, Additional Advocate General of Punjab who was also an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court of India. Well, in the very first post of my blog, I had told you, my readers, that I do really have a critical health crisis and I was very skeptical about what living in Delhi for a month would be like, and to top it all, Delhi was roasting anyone and everyone who went out in the sun.

Well, I reached one day before and had gone to his chambers to have a look. I was completely unaware of the Supreme Court geography and I didn't want to be late on the first day of work. So, I found his chamber after a lot of searching, and his PA was there. We spoke to him briefly and he was as co-operative as ever. The greeting itself eased my tension and fear to a great extent. Next day, when I came, I was more than glad with whom I was interning under. Sweet, charming and polite are words inadequate to describe him! The first case I got to read was the Asharam Bapu case. Well, yeah, here I forgot to mention, his Senior is Ram Jethmalani, so he's the one usually handling all the Criminal Cases; apart from all the Punjab cases he handled within the scope of the Additional Advocate General. He had quality work to give me, and the environment was as chilled out as it could be. There were no fixed timings though, but that is not a negative point, it is indeed a plus point trust me! Every single day I used to wake up looking forward to see him. Yes, he had that effect on me. He was more like a big brother than a boss - any mistake and we're not scolded, but instead made to understand every mistake and the measures of rectification. He literally taught us everything - from how to dress up to the skill of arguing before a judge. This internship had implications reaching far beyond the scope of academics - this was all about love and affection towards the profession of litigation. Now, when I write this, I am the most unhappy person in the planet to have left his office after a month - there was something that drew me closer to him. The Supreme Court culture and his office were a part of life I would never forget - those are things I will always miss. And he made me love litigation as a career. Now it would be very difficult to lure me into a corporate career.

For the first time, I was unhappy to come home.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

You are India; India is you.

Today, I talk about politics. I don’t have much to say, as you are already into the elections and might have pretty well done your research on the topic.

But, I am here to tell you about what you should do after the phase of the elections are over. No, I won’t really lecture you on anything here. I am just here to remind you, that, every politician in the country is you. Yes, you.

I made quite a philosophical statement there, it seems. But well, in the literal sense it actually is you. Your vote brought him there – to the parliament, to do what? To serve you; to make the nation a beautiful place; to transcend the necessity of personal gain for setting new limits to development.

Well, enough with those. Now, well, why you? That’s because the person you vote is your spokesperson to the government, and his decision forms the policies of the government. Well, by his decisions, we mean the decisions of the ‘people’. People wanted him to be the guiding light – a man of utmost virtue, trust and moral character. But, things are easier said than done, and I’ll tell you why.

When you vote for, suppose, Mr. Android Robot, you vote him for a purpose, for let’s say, he promises to give Robotabad new and better roads. Now when Robotabad does not get new roads after his government is formed, you can NOT sue him for breach of trust, or, well, at least it hasn’t ever happened before.
Every person in the parliament represents the views of their electors, and if not, they are in the literal sense breaching your trust. And you know the best part? You cannot even know what they are representing for most of it is confidential. Now, that raises a separate issue of transparency which we shall cover some other day when I have the feeling of ‘Information should be Free’.


So, now what? Now, as you see the new government being created, don’t just sit back and relax watching the TV criticizing the politicians, they’re you, like literally. So, after you have voted, your work is far from over. India will create history, and so will you. At least, now I hope so. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Vote.

Well, hello again. This time I'll tell you something about a recent opportunity you will have.

Well, India welcomed the General Elections yesterday, a thing that comes every five years - a rare opportunity indeed. But opportunity for what? To shape India the way YOU like.

Well, yes indeed. Now everyone has different opinions on what India should be. You might, just for an example, say FDI in retail is a very good thing for India, while your neighbour might thoroughly dislike the idea. That's where the "greatest happiness of the greatest number" comes into play. The more the people that are happy, the more successful the government.

So, in order to make your opinion count, please vote. And now, by voting I do not mean choosing 'None Of The Above', for that is then equivalent to not voting. In the First-Past-The-Post system of voting we have, someone will win, irrespective of you voting or not. So, do not let others opinion be shoved down your throat. Make your vote count - because one vote really does count. Not voting, or choosing NOTA will be a sad day for democracy - for democracy is formed by the people, for the people, of the people.

The right to vote and choose your representative is a legal right and is the most crucial tool for democracy. Choose wisely. Yes, that brings me to another point. 'Choose', not 'vote'. Don't just go and randomly press a button because you had to. Analyze all the available choices you have, see whose philosophy fits you the best, and then choose that candidate. I have been seeing most of the people are unaware as to the politicians of their constituency are considered. The folks at MyNeta have put up a pretty good service of information about the politicians. Just log onto www.myneta.info or SMS MYNETA and then your pincode after a single space to 56070 (this SMS will cost you though) to know the politician's names, criminal cases if any, and their educational qualifications. You may also dial *325*35# which is free but provides merely the names.

I came across this handy piece of information and thought I would share it with you guys.
So, yes, choose wisely - make your vote count. You yourself are India after all - every citizen is what India is. Jai Hind!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Oh, women's day!

First up, sorry for the late post. Been really really busy lately. Still am, actually. But whatever, a special day demands a special post, right?

So, umm, special day isn't necessarily some personal memory revival day or history creation day. For the time being, it is just another day with a fancy name. And today the name is, "Women's Day".

The United Nations themed it this time as "Equality for women is progress for all". How cool is that?

But well, not so cool. Not unless things are done, at least.

What we have in India is definitely a social pathology that has arisen out of the confluence of eastern and western cultures. On one hand, we see that India is one of the countries where women are treated equally more than any other country in some spheres, and on the same time, same place we see that this one of the most insecure countries for them to live in.

So, well, on this women's day let's pledge to fight for the cause. To give way to progress and development of humans - men and women alike. For it is after all a woman for whom you walk the Earth.

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