#Mumbai – After sexual harassment at workplace, woman faces online slander #Vaw


MEENA MENON, The Hindu, April 11,2013

 

First it was sexual harassment at workplace. Next comes a slanderous campaign on the Internet.  For this former employee of auditing firm KPMG, life has become hell since 2007. Now Aditi (name changed) is fighting with the Mumbai cyberpolice who are doing little on her 2012 complaint seeking action against websites which hosted offensive and abusive comments against her.

Trial yet to begin

While the sexual harassment case led to the arrest of a KPMG partner in 2007 and the filing of a charge sheet in December that year, the trial is yet to begin. Aditi has little doubt that the defamation in the cyber realm is an extension of workplace harassment. She had to wage a fight to ensure that the defamatory comments were removed by the Department of Telecom after a magistrate’s order in December 2012, three years after her complaint.  The cyberpolice are yet to complete their probe into a first information report registered against Google, a website 498a.org and an individual whose comments appeared on that website.

In September 2007, after a Mumbai daily revealed her name while reporting on the sexual harassment case, she was subjected to verbal abuse on the Internet. She filed a complaint with the cybercrime cell on October 9, 2007. While the comments were removed from public view soon after, they started appearing on other sites like 498a.org and Save the Indian Family (SIFS).  She wrote to Google, which removed the links to websites like 498a.org. Later, when the comments reappeared, Google wrote to her saying it could not block the URLs.

‘Total lie’

A second complaint was filed at the cyberpolice station at Bandra in 2010. The  police closed the earlier complaint terming it a civil one,  without informing her, stating the accused was not identified. Aditi claims this is a complete lie as her 58-page complaint had given details of the websites that carried the comments. She filed a fresh complaint in April and May 2012 against Google and Nabble, on whose websites the offensive comments reappeared, and thereafter the links were removed from Nabble. She sent legal notice to Google for not deleting the links.

Thanks to the extensive cyberdefamation, Aditi now finds it difficult to get a new job and she is being termed a ‘legal terrorist’. “I am only fighting for my right to dignity but such baseless slander with no action by the police created lot of problems,” she says.

Police can block websites

Under Section 69 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, the police have the power to block offensive websites, but they did nothing. She was made to file yet another complaint in May 2012 on the same issue. The defamatory comments were  removed by the DoT after the Chief Metropolitan Court passed an order in November 2012 directing Cert-In (the Computer Emergency Response cell under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology) to block 10 URLs. The police finally registered an FIR only in November 2012 against an individual whose name and email ID appeared with offensive comments on nabble.com, unidentified persons who wrote abusive remarks on google.com and 498a.org. They were charged under Section 500 of the IPC and Sections 34 and 66 A, B and C of the Information Technology Act. She filed a query under the Right to Information Act on the progress in the case, and the police replied in January 2013 that they could not give any detail since it would impede investigation. When The Hindu contacted senior inspector N.K. More of the cyberpolice station, who is investigating the case, he declined to comment.

The police claim they cannot make headway since 498a.org and other sites are not responding to their summons. However, The Hindu got detailed email responses from 498a.org and an organisation called Rakshak Foundation, which is connected to it. Piyush Singh, a volunteer from Rakshak, in response to emailed questions, called from the U.S. and admitted that the cyberpolice had sent the organisation a letter in July 2012. It called up the police last year to clarify that it would forward the police complaint to 498a.org.

Both connected

Investigations reveal that a link on 498a.org marked ‘donate’ takes you to Rakshak saying: “We need your help and support to keep actively helping falsely implicated and stressed families for free. All Donations are made to Rakshak Foundation (registered NGO at California, USA), which supports 498a.org. Rakshak Foundation is 501(c)(3) certified and hence the donations are tax-exempt. Rakshak Foundation’s EIN # is 71-1033875.”

A phone call to a number listed on the 498a.org website in Mumbai elicited the response that they were volunteers only to help people and all administrative decisions were taken by the Rakshak Foundation in the U.S.  Mr. Singh said Rakshak collected funds for 498a.org since it was a website and not an organisation. Rakshak started public policy research in 2006-07 and found out about 498a.org.

Volunteer’s claim

However, a volunteer from 498a.org who wished to remain anonymous, said in an email interview that the website was not connected to the Rakshak Foundation.  The website relied on volunteers to help those who are aggrieved by the misuse of 498a. Since 498a.org is a website, donations used to be collected through Rakshak. “Rakshak is not funding us. 498a.org and Rakshak are not connected.” At least this volunteer has not seen emails from the cyberpolice seeking information and said 498a.org did not have any interest in defaming anyone.

Aditi managed to obtain, on her own, a lot of details including of the people who had founded Rakshak.  Her poser to the police: Whether a website registered outside India can carry out activities in India through volunteers and get away without complying with the law of the land?

 


  • Thanks to cyber defamation, she finds it difficult to get new job and is being termed ‘legal terrorist’
  • Police claim websites are not responding to their summons

 


 

Mumbai cyber police yet to act on her complaints against websites

 

#India- Pay for surgeries, costly treatment with EMIs soon #healthcare


Finance

Mar 4, 2013, TNN[ Rupali Mukherjee ]

Globally, patient financing companies like Springstone and Medicard bear the cost of a patient’s treatment including surgeries, procedures and even pharma prescriptions, ranging from $2,000 to $40,000.
MUMBAI: Soon you will be able to finance the purchase of prescription medication. With healthcare costs going through the roof and exorbitantly-priced medicines making treatment inaccessible for many, companies are trying to reach out to patients and provide options of convenient monthly payments.

These companies include patient financing start-ups which will provide options so patients don’t delay expensive treatments and have access to medication through a customised repayment plan — an affordable alternative to personal loans and credit cards.

Globally, patient financing companies like Springstone and Medicard bear the cost of a patient’s treatment including surgeries, procedures and even pharma prescriptions, ranging from $2,000 to $40,000. Healthcare financing start-up Mya Health Credit will soon offer loans to patients for financing prescriptions.

Mya Health Credit’s founder Manish Menda says, “we are in talks with domestic pharma companies and will soon be rolling out the financing of pharma prescriptions over Rs 75,000 for a tenure of 12, 18 or 24 months. We will also offer financing of medical devices—used by the consumer, like hearing aids or pacemakers as their costs add up to over a lakh or so.”

Though the company is still working out the finer details, it has tied-up with Tata Finance which will provide ‘loans’ for purchasing medicines after appropriate verification checks. Hitesh Gajaria, partner KPMG, said: “This is a way of deepening the market and increasing accessibility by offering customised loans for healthcare. Patient financing is a niche area and India is a huge unserved market.”

The pay-as-you-go approach is a great model for countries like India where there is no reimbursement system and expenditure on health is largely out-of-pocket, industry experts say. In US, pharma expenses are about 8-15% of total healthcare cost while in India it may go as high as 60% in therapies. Pharma company Biogen Idec offers two critical medicines, meant for multiple sclerosis patients at half the cost, and is exploring finance options through a public-private partnership where it can part-finance the treatment, says the company’s MD Sameer Savkur.

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