Government to finalise e-mail policy, court told

New Delhi, Feb 24: The Delhi High Court was Monday told the government that a meeting of committee of secretaries will be held March 5 to finalise the policy on a national e-mail policy for official communication of government employees.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said that it is a “serious issue” as the nation’s official data is transferred to other countries.

“The matter is serious and jeopardising the whole security of the country. How your (government) emails going to US and other countries. Public records can’t travel outside the country,” the bench added.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra told the court that a meeting of 15 to 16 secretaries of the central government will sit on March 5 where the policy will be finalised.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K.N. Govindacharya, seeking 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 petitioner had alleged 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.

He further 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 (nic.in).

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 next March 26.

IANS