Two weeks after an official of the Centre’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sent a letter to telecom operators about “misuse of telecom network for sending obscene and vulgar messages”, the Department has “withdrawn the letter”.
The letter was sent on February 19 to nine telecom operators by Ashish Joshi, controller of communications in DoT.
On February 26, Joshi was suspended after he wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, red-flagging a video posted by rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra on Twitter, in which he advocated violence against “traitors”.
The letters sent by Joshi to telecom operators stated: “Many noted figures namely Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma, etc have been subjected to obscene and vulgar messages on their mobile phones. You are hereby directed to take action against the customers/subscribers of your network for sending obscene messages as it is a violation of customer declaration in the customer application form. Action taken report to be kindly sent within 15 days.”
When contacted, a senior official in the Ministry of Communications explained why the letter was withdrawn.
“Separate emails have been sent to each of the recipients explaining the appropriate procedure to be adopted in such cases. Telecom service providers cannot block unless there is an order from a judicial authority or competent authority to block. It is the cyber cell which can investigate and ask for action to be taken. Those who have complaints can file them with the respective cyber cells,” the official said.