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Sarbajit Roy

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Sarbajit Roy
Social worker from India
(PD) Photo: Central Information Commission
Sarbajit Roy at Central Information Commission, 14 Oct 2006
Country India
Known for Social work, Right to Information, Legal activism
Organisation India Against Corruption
Website IAC official website
Sarbajit Roy Related Articles, Sarbajit_Roy Bibliography, Sarbajit Roy External Links

Sarbajit Roy is National Convenor of the anti-corruption movement India Against Corruption [1][2][3][4][5][6] which brought millions of Indian onto the streets in 2011 protesting pervasive corruption. Sarbajit Roy, now reformed, was a "bad boy" computer hacker in the early 1980s when he coded India's first computer virii.[7][8]

Convenor of National Campaign for Political Reform in India, Roy is a relentless Freedom of Information activist and public interest litigation advocate successfully opposing large Indian corporates in the regulatory domain and who CNN described as "Sarbajit Roy, a man who found time to stall the Delhi sealing drive, have CAS repealed and get telecom operators regulated".[9]

Right to Information

A mechanical engineer from BITS Pilani (batch of 1980), Roy is an information activist since 1982 and a prolific user of RTI process since 2001 who extensively participated in the drafting of the Delhi RTI Act 2001 and also the National RTI Act 2005. He holds the triple distinction of filing the first Right to Information (RTI) application,[10] the first RTI Appeal as well as the first RTI Complaint under India's Right to Information Act.[11]

Roy was notable in 2005 for being the first activist to bring India's state conferred monopolies under the scope of Freedom of Information hitherto applicable only to Government agencies.[12]. A 2010 court case filed against Roy in India's longest running RTI matter, triggered India's Right to Information law being revised, after the Delhi High Court declared the existing RTI regulations as illegal.[13][14] This caused protests by RTI activists and caused 2 members of the Central Information Commission to stop holding hearings. [15]

Roy stops Conditional Access System (CAS)

Sarbajit Roy approached the Supreme Court, in December 2003, saying that 2 million HUMAX imported Cable TV set top boxes being forced on consumers for Conditional Access System (CAS) were actually recycled STBs not meeting the safety specifications set by the Bureau of Indian Standards and lacking BIS certification.[16] Sarbajit Roy approached the Supreme Court after the senior officers of Delhi Police were unsure of their jurisdiction to register the crime (FIR) on his complaint that flimsy STBs containing fatal voltages as high as 4000 Volt were being sold to consumers without the mandatory BIS certification. Senior police officers said, "We don't know what to do with the complaint. The matter has to be resolved at government level. It is the policy makers and BIS which has to take care of the matter".[17] A similar story published by the Daily Pioneer newspaper,[18] got Roy and Pioneer's editor Chandan Mitra sued for defamation, which was later dismissed. Faced with Roy's petition the UPA Govt refused to implement the previous NDA Govt's controversial scheme and the Supreme Court, while permitting the few extant CAS systems to continue, granted leave to Roy to apply again if the scheme was revived. [19] The STB manufacturer refused to take back the recycled STBs which caused considerable loss to the cable system operators.

Roy stops Unique Identity Authority of India land grab

On 18 November 2009 IAC National Convenor Sarbajit Roy brought Unique Identity Authority of India "UIDAI", under India's transparency law[20][21]


  1. "About Us" IAC website
  2. Are activists barking at the wrong tree on political parties being under RTI?, MoneyLife, July 19, 2013.
  3. Radio One Mumbai issues apology, Radio&Music, May 22, 2013.
  4. Nivedita Khandekar. Anti-corruption body abandons Janlokpal, Hindustan Times, 3 September 2013.
  5. Moneylife Digital Team. UIDAI land allotment scam: DDA accepts IAC prayer to scrap the deal, Moneylife, 17 September 2013.
  6. Smriti Kak Ramachandran. BJP is the only party that thinks of national interest, says V.K. Singh, The Hindua, 27 March 2014.
  7. Pragya Singh. Four 4 Change, Indian Express, October 16, 2005.
  8. Anuja, Cordelia Jenkins. Subhash Agrawal: RTI crusader, Livemint, 2012-06-15.
  9. Anu Jogesh. Indian middle class goes Net-savvy, CNN-IBN, 18 June 2007.
  10. Urvashi Kaul. Right to Information Act gets 1st applicant, Asian Age, 4 October 2005. Retrieved on September 4, 2013.
  11. Manoj Mitta. First proceeding under RTI Act, Times of India, 24 December 2005. Retrieved on September 4, 2013.
  12. CIC DISCOMS decision
  13. CIC DDA decision
  14. Delhi High Court quashes CIC Management Regulations, Asian Age, November 27, 2009.
  15. Two Info Commissioners stop work after HC order, Governance Now (PTI news agency), May 26, 2010.
  16. Aditya Kaul. "Can your set-top box kill you", The Statesman, 24 December 2003.
  17. Aditya Kaul. "Police yet to register FIR on engineer's complaint about STBs", The Statesman, 25 December 2003.
  18. Abraham Thomas. STBs don't meet BIS norms, The Daily Pioneer, 30 December 2003.
  19. Sudha Nagaraj. Metering device may help Trai to make a fresh CASe for cable TV, Economic Times, 14 September 2004.
  20. IAC National Convenor Sarbajit Roy brings UIDAI under transparency law
  21. Sh. Sarbajit Roy vs Planning Commission on 18 November, 2009