HC seeks clear-cut answers from Centre on its email policy
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed the Centre to provide “concrete and clear-cut answers” to its queries regarding evolving of an email policy for government departments as well as taxation of websites like Facebook and Google for services offered by them here.
“What about your email policy? How long will it remain under consideration? Data is going all over the world. We want concrete and clear-cut answers. We want to put an end to these issues,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said.
“Please be ready on next date of hearing to address the issues raised by him (petitioner),” the court said to Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain who was present in pursuance to the bench’s oral order on the last date of hearing.
The ASG initially told the court the email policy would be ready by end of November 2014 but then added that efforts would be made to expedite the process.
Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for former BJP leader K N Govindacharya who has moved the petition, said that the government be directed to use only NIC servers for sending official emails, instead of using the services of foreign sites like Google.
After the brief arguments, the court listed the matter for further hearing on October 30.
On September 26, the court had questioned “how is Google paying (service tax) but not Facebook? How is Facebook exempted? We are finding it difficult to understand”.
It had also raised queries regarding the government’s email policy and had sought the presence of the ASG to answer the same.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Govindacharya who has contended that government departments like Delhi Police and the Indian Railways are not entitled to creating accounts on social networking sites.
It has also sought recovery of taxes from the websites on their income from operations in India.