NIC drops ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ footer from official mails originating from Supreme Court

The National Informatics Center (NIC) has dropped the Government of India’s footer carrying a public service announcement on ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (collective efforts, inclusive growth) from all official mails originating from the Supreme Court.

This was done under the directions of the top court administration. The court bureaucracy suggested that instead of carrying images unrelated to the judiciary, the image of the Supreme Court may be attached to every mail originating from the court.

Court sources said the “image” being used by the NIC as a “footer…had no connection whatsoever with the functioning of the judiciary”.

“NIC was directed to drop that image from the footer of emails originating from the Supreme Court. Instead, NIC was asked to carry a picture of the Supreme Court of India. NIC has since complied with the directions,” the sources said.

Such public service announcements are automatically tagged to every email routed through NIC servers. The top court has no role in creating these messages, a court source said on the condition of anonymity.

A technical expert confirmed this when he said that such social media announcements are usually used as signatures of the Government of India. Most of such messaging is politically innocuous, they said.

These include references to the government’s pulse polio programme, the swachhta (clean India) mission and the need to stick to social distancing norms and masking up in covid times.

A request was sent earlier in the day to the NIC to drop all such messages from any official emails issued by the Supreme Court of India, sources said. NIC sources assured the court that it would be done by the end of the day and it was done, the sources confirmed.

PM Modi had first spoken of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ in 2014 when the BJP had come to power with a majority in 2014. This message figures prominently on his home page too. Sources said the court was wary of being seen as endorsing any political slogans closely associated with any party in these polarised times.

Many former CJIs, such as YK Sabharwal and SH Kapadia, have earlier spoken out on the need for the courts to keep arm’s length from the government, the largest litigant in the country.

Former CJI Kapadia went to the extent of saying that some amount of friction between the executive and the judiciary was good.

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