[Fsf-friends] Fwd: Petition to Cancel Proprietary Tender by NIC given to CJI and DG NIC

Vikram Vincent vincentvikram at gmail.com
Tue Oct 6 19:04:04 IST 2009

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kiranchandra <kiran at swecha.net>
Date: Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 8:35 PM
Subject: Petition to Cancel Proprietary Tender by NIC given to CJI and DG NIC

For Publication

Eminent personalities including Justice V R Krisha Iyer (former Supreme
court judge) and Dr. Pushpa M Bhargava (former Vice Chairman National
Knowledge Commission) have called upon the National Informatics Centre
(NIC) to cancel its tender (Ref. No: NIC/TPS/2009/18) form purchase of
laptops with preloaded software for the Supreme Court of India.

They were part of those who have signed an online petition, which was
launched on 24-09-09, opposing this proprietary tender. Justice V R
Krisha Iyer in his comment termed this tender reactionary and has
pleaded with the Prime Minister to intervene in the name of access to
Freedom of Information and Free and Open Source Software. Sixteen
organisations (http://www.swecha.org/wiki/index.php?title=Petition) and
370 individuals (http://swecha.org/node/23/signatures) have signed the

The petition has also been sent to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India
Shri K G Balakrishnan and the Direcetor General of NIC Dr. B K Gairola.
There is confirmation from the respective offices that the petition has
been received.

The tender relates to purchase of proprietary brands of laptops (Apple
laptops) and the software installed (Windows XP) in it. Any fair
tendering practice should allow competition and only give system
specifications. In this tender, the only brand name given is Apple and
only operating system given is Windows XP from Microsoft. This makes the
tender a single source tender and is clearly anti-competitive since
there is wide choice of hardware, software and operating systems in the
market. Therefore, this is not a single vendor situation and no
exception should be considered on this count.

Moreover, the above mentioned tender is for laptops to be used by the
Supreme Court of India. As the supreme judicial body of the country, the
Court must set a proper precedent and not allow such unfair tendering

The tender also goes against stated government policy of encouraging
free and open source softeware, and open standards. The National
Knowledge Commission in its report on e-governance submitted to the
Prime Minister stated, “Because of the enormous size and scope of the
E-governance effort in India and because of the availability of globally
recognized software talent of Indians,we must actively encourage open
source software implementations and open standards wherever possible.”

The Department of Information Technology, in its Elevent Five Year Plan
(2007-2012) has remarked that, “If computer adoption has to reach from
current 1% of population to say 5% in next five years, we have to
seriously pursue some other route, viz., that of Free/Open Source
Software (FOSS).”

The current tender’s preference for proprietary suppliers will encourage
vendor lock-in as their data and files can be read by only their
software. Such a step by the Supreme Court would set the clock back in
the country, where increasingly Government organisations and others are
turning to Free and Open Source Software. In this context, it might be
noted that Allahabad High Court has already successfully converted to
FOSS and Open Standards (http://www.allahabadhighcourt.in/faq.htm)

Institutions like NIC under the Ministry of Information and Technology
have to ensure the adoption of software that complies with open
standards. It was therefore demanded that the current tender should be
scrapped forthwith and a new tendering process be initiated without
naming any brands and incorporating Free and Open Source Software.

Organisations & Important Persons endorsing the petition
  (Web link : http://www.swecha.org/wiki/index.php?title=Petition )

     * Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer's comments

       "The present move by NIC is reactionary. I feel there is much
       substance in the points made in the petition and plead with the
       Prime Minister to intervene in the name of access to Freedom of
       Information and Free and Open Source Software".
     * Former Vice Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission Pushpa
       M Bhargava's comments

       "I am all in for free and open source software"
     * Swecha (http://swecha.org/)

     * Democratic Alliance for Knowledge Freedom (DAKF)

     * Appropriate Technology Promotion Society (ATPS), Kochi

     * Free Software Industries Association (FSIA), Kerala

     * Open Software Solutions Industrial Co-operative Society
       (OSSICS), Kochi (http://www.ossics.com/)

     * Free Software Foundation, Tamil Nadu (FSFTN)

     * IT for Change, Bangalore

     * Knowledge Commons, New Delhi

     * Free Software Movement Karnataka (http://fsmk.org/)

     * Linux User Group @ IIT Delhi (http://www.lug-iitd.org/)

     * Centre for Internet and Society (http://www.cis-india.org/)

     * Free Software Foundation of India (http://www.gnu.org.in/)

     * IIT Madras Linux Users Group (http://iitmlug.a.wiki-site.com/)

     * Linux Campus Club SJCE Mysore (http://www.lccsjce.org/)

     * [Free Software Movement West Bengal]

     * Linux Users' Group, NITK Surathkal

Yours Sincerely

Y.Kiran Chandra
(On behalf of the endorsing individuals and organisations)

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