More things to ban

Admitting frivolous petitions not only wastes time. It encourages intolerance.

The Bombay High Court should have powers to throw out some petitions because of reasons of, well, immense stupidity. If it does, it is certainly not using them. For a Division Bench of the court has asked ‘the state government to file its reply in connection with a petition demanding a ban on social networking site, Orkut, for hosting an anti-Shivaji Web community’.

In this vein, the Court should also ask the State or Central Government to reply why the following ought not to be banned:

1. The Internet — for certainly there are more anti-Shivaji, anti-Maharashtra, anti-India, anti-Hindu, anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh, anti-Libertarian, anti-Communist, anti-just-about-anything websites than there are members on Orkut.

2. The Telephone Network — for certainly, they say nasty things about live and dead people many Indians respect. Besides Orkut runs on the Internet, and people use the Telephone Network for Internet Access.

3. Paper — for certainly, they print ‘slang, rude and vulgar language’ about our heros.

4. Parliament — for MPs use ‘slang, rude and vulgar language’ all the time. On live television, with the young and the impressionable watching.

5. Television — because it broadcasts parliamentary proceedings.

If it admits the petition on Orkut, it should also admit the petitions calling for a ban on these other things too.

There’s plenty of debate over judicial activism. There should be one on judicial discretion too.

9 thoughts on “More things to ban”

  1. Nitin:
    The report in, that you linked to says, I quote:

    The community had been blocked by the Pune police after a few violent incidents were reported in the city when its existence came to light two weeks ago. Though the community is currently inaccessible, the petitioner has demanded that Orkut, which has captured the fancy of many Indians, be banned.

    Is Orkut inaccessible in Pune? Could someone confirm this? I haven’t read anything to this effect on RSB (Reporters Sans Borders). If it can be confirmed, we should send a note to RSB.

    The politicians of this country have been (and still are, mostly) pampered by a compliant media for decades. For years, the PTI was pretty much the sole source of the controlled news dished out to this democracy. For a while, the media opened up a bit, but most recently, it’s started to fall in line again. The informal media that is beholden to no one is a pain in the neck of the politicians, not only in India, but around the world, who’d love to put an end to it as quickly as possible.

  2. RF,

    Orkut is accessible in Pune

    But the question is not government or politicians, the blame lies with judiciary to entertain such frivolous petitions


  3. Gaurav:
    My comment was based on the the report in, which said that the Pune police had already blocked Orkut, before the judiciary came into picture. I took the petition as an attempt to legitimize the blockade.

    There are obvious political motives behind such petitions. Another that comes to my mind is the one that was filed against the actress Kushboo for defaming the Tamils, when she advocated safe pre-marital sex. I’d very much like the judiciary to dismiss such petitions, but I am not familar enough with the Indian legal system to weigh in if the concerned courts had the discretion to do so without a hearing.

    In the seventies, when the concentration of power in the executive was at its peak, a term that was bandied about was “committed judiciary”. Imho, it was a self-serving characterization of a judiciary that was supplicant to the executive. Casual observation indicates that the judiciary today, particularly the Supreme Court, is a lot more independent than the committed judiciary of yesteryears. Quashing of politically motivated bans against DaVinci Code, Cocoa Cola, etc. would have been unimaginable in those days.

    I think that’s progress.

  4. My guess is that the judiciary is as good as (read: as bad as) the bureaucracy as far as the IT infrastracture is concerned. I doubt, barring a few justices in some courts, anybody uses a computer daily. They still employ ‘typists’, whose job is to, well, type the dictates of the bosses. They haven’t moved an inch when the world around them have run a marathon. In such a scenario, if somebody files a case on a social networking site, the judges get flabbergasted. In order not to show that ‘they dont know anything about IT and technology’, they display their stupidity by admitting such cases. It is a classic case of idiots teaching the learned. Even our great Abdul Kalam displayed it some time back when he asked Google Earth to be banned.

  5. You forgot a few,

    1. Roads – because people commit violent acts on them.
    2. Buses – ditto.
    3. Schools – because students are absent a lot of the time.
    4. Shops – because they steal money from the government.
    5. Factories – because people make illegal materials in them.

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